Harrington looks to justify his pick, starting this week at Vivendi Cup

padraig harrington
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Padraig Harrington is hoping that his game will peak just in time for the Ryder Cup.
Mark Garrod
PA Sport


Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | 5:28 p.m.

Padraig Harrington aims to put an even bigger smile on Colin Montgomerie's face as Europe heads into the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor next week.

Montgomerie has seen nearly half of his team -- Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer (twice), Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari and Miguel Angel Jimenez -- win titles since the start of last month. He also had the boost of Lee Westwood, his star man, declaring himself fit after months battling with a torn calf muscle.

Now Harrington, regarded by some as lucky to have been given a wild card, is in Paris looking to end over two years without a European Tour victory.

For the first two rounds of the Vivendi Cup at Golf de Joyenval, the Dubliner will have his brother Fergal alongside him, the tournament being conducted as a pro-am over two courses until it reaches its halfway point.

"Monty has picked me for my experience and, of course, after getting a pick you're always going to be keen to do it justice," stated Harrington. "There's a lot of stuff you could do behind the scenes as well that are important during the week. That's every bit part of being in a team environment. You say the right things and do the right things and help people out as much as you can."

Harrington, who added the event to his schedule after falling out of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoff series in America, failed to win a Ryder Cup cup game in both the 2006 win at The K Club and the defeat in Louisville two years ago.

"I was flat then,” Harrington admitted, as the 2008 Ryder Cup came just after he had won the British Open and PGA Championship in under a month. "Whatever happens this time, I don't think I'm going to be flat. I'm hoping for the Ryder Cup to be my peak this year.

"I'm working towards that and definitely there's a sense of expectation,” he added. "There's definitely more pressure, but pressure brings a bit more adrenaline, more nerves, more focus."

Hanson is the only other member of the side playing in France and, following his Czech Open success in the penultimate week of qualifying, another strong performance now could increase the Swede's role in Wales. He is. However, fighting a cold, and said Wednesday he was considering withdrawing.

“I have got a bit of a chest infection, a bit of a cold,” Hanson said. “I felt it first on Tuesday and now I feel bit worse. It’s not the ideal way to prepare here and I don’t want to be sick next week.”