Padraig Harrington is on the look out for world ranking points and a major new sponsor after losing his $10m deal with FTI Consulting.
The global business advisory giants snapped up the Dubliner’s services just over three years ago as he basked in the glory of his third major victory in the 2008 US PGA.
The mega-deal was believed to be worth a cool $10m to the Irish ace but over three years. But after slumping from third to 85th in the world rankings since then, his management at IMG confirmed yesterday that FTI has decided not to extend his contract.
That means there may be some valuable advertising space available on the front of Harrington’s cap when he kicks off his 2012 campaign in the Volvo Golf Champions in South Africa in two weeks’ time.
Yet more than cash, the triple major winner badly needs to move up the world rankings so he qualifies for the first two World Golf Championships of the season.
And he knows that if he fails to qualify for them he will struggle to win his seventh Ryder Cup cap in Chicago in September.
After missing a WGC event for the first time in his career when he failed to qualify for the HSBC Champions in Shanghai last November, Harrington said: “I am mindful that if I don’t get into the world events it is very difficult for me to get into the Ryder Cup. I have got to play well next year in the right events otherwise the Ryder Cup won’t happen for me.”
Only the top 64 in the world will qualify for February’s WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona.
That means that Harrington will need at least one big performane well in his first three events of the season to make it to Tucson while a trip to the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami in March would require a move into the world’s top 50.
The 40 year old will make his 2012 debut in the Volvo Golf Champions at Fancourt in South Africa from January 19-22.
He will then battle the likes of Tiger Woods and the world’s top-three of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy for huge points in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Harrington will then head to the US for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open on Los Angeles.