Monty sings the praises of captain-in-waiting Harrington
Published 22/09/2010 | 05:00
Padraig Harrington is a Ryder Cup captain-in-waiting, according to Colin Montgomerie.
Harrington's decision to seek a leadership role in next week's event at Celtic Manor has been interpreted by European skipper Montgomerie as the Dubliner's first step on the road to being appointed captain some time in the future.
Montgomerie has singled out Harrington for special praise after reading the comments last weekend by the triple Major winner which expressed the realisation that he needed to "go that extra mile" for the European team cause.
Monty is present in France for two days as a Vivendi ambassador for the Vivendi Cup at Chambourcy, near Saint Germain to the north-west of Paris.
However, of more importance will be his meetings with Harrington and fellow team member Peter Hanson, along with two of his vice-captains in Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, who are all competing in the pro-Am tournament.
"I think we will see the real Padraig step forward," said Monty.
"He has been given this wild-card choice and one of the reasons we did this was to make sure he did step up to the plate. It was also to give him that vote of confidence and say 'right, this is your time mate! You come forward and lead this team on the course.'
"I am looking to him and Lee Westwood to do this. Westwood's played in six Ryder Cups and Padraig's played in five, so it's time they both stepped up to that plate.
"I haven't spoken to Padraig at all about this, so it was very nice to hear him say what he did last week and that he will go to them (other members of the team) himself with-out waiting for me to ask him.
"Now, that's a player and that's a future Ryder Cup captain. I trust him to carry out what he's said, and that's one of the reasons why I've picked him -- to actually step forward and help."
Harrington will play with his brother Fergal, a 12-handicapper and fellow member at Stackstown, this week. And after playing 19 holes of practice yesterday on the host Marly and Retz courses, he reaffirmed this 'new' Ryder Cup role.
"I'm in a position of responsibility this time and there are certain guys I have to talk with during the week," he said. "I've one or two ideas for the team and I'll chat them through with Monty, but if I see the situation getting to players in the build-up, I'll make sure I make the effort this time."