Harrington and McDowell in Killarney in 2010. Picture Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.iePadraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell won’t be too keen to thumb their copies of Richard III after failing to make it to the third stage of the FedEx Cup play-offs in Boston.

For men that measure their success in terms of their performances in the Majors and the World Golf Championships, “now is the winter of our discontent” is probably quite apt despite the fact that there is still plenty of golf left to be played in 2011.

Having failed to make any impression in the grand slam events this year, the Irish pair had a chance to salvage something from disappointing seasons in the FedEx Cup. To be or not to be in Chicago next week, that was the question in the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. It was not to be.

McDowell missed out on a place in the BMW Championship when he shot a level par 71 in the final round to finish three places outside the top-70 who advanced to Cog Hill.

Harrington fared even worse, slipping to 89th in the FedEx after a jaded closing 75 that was bereft of birdies.

The FedEx Cup is the new barometer of success on the PGA Tour but it can be deceptive as players who have had relatively poor seasons, get hot for a week or two and climb the standings.

The stroke average and the money list after often better indicators of a player’s true form. In terms of cash, McDowell is 75th in the US money list with $1,088,898 from 15 events while Harrington is 98th with $802,839 from 18 starts.

As for scoring averages, Harrington is 87th with 70.88 while McDowell is 129th with 71.22.

With the European Tour’s Race to Dubai title out of reach for both men, the goal now is to make a good start to the European Ryder Cup qualifying campaign.

Set to chase their places on both sides of the Atlantic, world No 13 McDowell and No 75 Harrington face a tough task. The first five places in Jose Maria Olazabal’s team will be determined by European Tour earnings with the next five decided by world ranking points earned.

McDowell may well decide to take part in the Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris next week. If he doesn’t we are not likely to see him or Harrington in action until the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland at the end of the month.

Neither player has so far qualified for November’s WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai (see qualified players here). And while McDowell is inside the top 60 who make the season ending Dubai World Championship, Harrington is €111,362 behind 60th ranked Anthony Wall in 86th place.

Following the Dunhill Links there are four “Masters” tournaments in a row on the European Tour schedule and McDowell and Harrington are sure to make an appearance at least once in either Madrid, Portugal, Castelló or Andalucía if they fail to win at St Andrews.