As Harrington waits for wildcard, Monty hails experience

Padraig Harrington’s experience could be an asset when the Ryder Cup wildcards are announced on Monday. Picture © Getty ImagesPadraig Harrington will be praying that skipper Jose Maria Olazábal listens to Colin Montgomerie and opts for experience when he names his Ryder Cup picks on Monday.

The Scot famously handed Harrington one of his three wildcards for the matches in Wales two years ago.

And while there are only two picks this time, the 2010 skipper reckons Ollie needs all the experience he can get when Europe defends the title in front of a hostile Chicago crowd.

Dropping a strong hint for a Harrington pick, Monty told Sky Sports: “A team with no rookies in America is a stronger one, I feel. It’s difficult, there is no question.

“It is a different environment than it is at home. There is 90 percent of the crowd for America and only 10 percent for us and it is more difficult.

“I would encourage Jose to pick as many experienced players as possible but that is not my position right now.”

Harrington is the most experienced player looking for a pick after six successive appearances.

But he knows he needs to win The Barclays this week to force Olazábal to backtrack on remarks he made at the US PGA.

The Spaniard all but ruled Harrington out of the reckoning because of his putting, insisting: “He’s well down the list.

“From tee‑to‑green, his game has been fairly good, but I think his putting has let him down this year so far.

“If he really does extraordinarily well, he can have a great chance of making the team still, but it’s going to be up to him.”

Harrington is determined to continue his run of fine form in New York and notch up his first US or European Tour win for four years.

He knows it’s his lash chance of a Ryder Cup pick, having confessed during the US PGA: “Obviously I’m not in the reckoning as it stands.  So I have to do something exceptional.  At least it’s clear.

“There certainly isn’t very much room for a pick for me.  You’re looking at obviously Ian Poulter is going to get one and, you know, there’s one left.”  

Olazabal knows nine of his 10 automatic qualifiers with Nicolas Colsaerts the only rookie who can force his way into the side with a top-two finish in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles this week.

If the big hitting Belgian makes it on merit, he will knock Germany’s Martin Kaymer out of the side.

That will leave Olazabal to choose two wildcards from a group of around a dozen that already includes Harrington, English Ryder Cup ace Poulter and Spaniards Rafa Cabrera Bello and Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño.

Olazábal looks certain to pick Poulter but Montgomerie reckons the Spanish skipper will not go far wrong by adding more experience to his team.

Dropping a strong hint for a Harrington pick, Monty said: “I think that experience is the great strength of the side. I had six rookies in my team and Jose might have none.

“It’s up to him to pick experience or go for rookies but it’s always tougher in America.”