Sport Golf

Sunday 21 January 2018

Harrington vital for Ryder team - Clarke

Padraig Harrington regrets not playing more European Tour events as he struggles to make the European Ryder Cup side to face the US at Celtic Manor in October.

But newly appointed vice-captain Darren Clarke insists that the triple Major winner is vital to Europe's hopes of winning back the trophy.

Speaking at the Lough Erne Golf Resort, where he partnered Rory McIlroy to a one-shot victory over Harrington and Shane Lowry in the Lough Erne Challenge (66-67), Clarke said: "We need Padraig on the team. We want Padraig on the team and we all hope Padraig is on the team. That's how much respect he has among all his peers and I have no doubt that he will be there."

Following his missed cut in the Open, Harrington is ninth in the race for four spots from the World Points List and more than 293,223 points outside the top five from the European Points List.

Victory in either the Irish Open, the Bridgestone Invitational or the US PGA would cure his qualifying headache and the need to choose between the Barclays on the US Tour and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

However, Harrington knows he has his work cut out to make it and in hindsight he confessed that he would have played more European Tour events had he known how tough it would be to make the side through the world rankings.

He said: "I've had 14 top-10s in the last year, but I'm not earning the bigger ranking points. With only four guys getting in on the world rankings it's a tough team to make.

"Maybe I should have focused more on the European money list. But then I thought the world rankings was more where I would be focused. It hasn't quite worked out that of yet."

Irish Independent

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