Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington during the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. Picture Fran Caffrey/ Donald has called on critics to stop bashing his hero Padraig Harrington.

The English ace, 33, jumped six place to world No 3 thanks to his WGC-Accenture Match Play win over new No 1 Martin Kaymer.

With Graeme McDowell at world No 4, Donald reckons Harrington’s major success played an inspirational role in Europe’s current dominance in the world rankings.

And he reckons it’s unfair to criticise Harrington for making massive changes in his swing, despite his fall to world No 36 this week.

Donald said: “I am surprised that Padraig has fallen down the rankings but I am sure he will make a comeback soon. He has a great work ethic, one of the best work ethics there is out there on tour and that will pay dividends. That will come through for him.

“You are always looking to improve and you can’t really bash him for doing that. Even after winning three majors he wants to change things because he feels he will become a better player through changing. So hats off to him.”

Donald reckons the Europe is going through a purple patch thanks to inspirational performances by players like Harrington and McDowell.

He said: “Padraig winning those three majors in two years was definitely a factor and he deserves every credit for that. It was a big thing for Europe and it spurred us all on.

“That and competing and being very successful in the Ryder Cup against the Americans was another factor.

“Graeme and Martin and Padraig are all friends of mine and people I spend time with and play practice rounds with and Ryder Cups with. You watch them and they think as highly of you as I think of them.

“And with Padraig having so much success it gave me the inspiration to try and follow him.”