Seve slams Padraig for 'letting down Ireland'
IN WHAT amounts to an astonishing attack on Padraig Harrington's integrity, Seve Ballesteros has accused Ireland's Open champion of letting down his countrymen and the game of golf when he pulled out of last week's Seve Trophy.
Harrington, who today begins his defence of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship played over St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, had cited fatigue and the need to recover from various injuries to prepare for a tough end of the season run-in.
Without the Dubliner, the match between Great Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe at The Heritage in Co Laois was a melancholic affair, made worse by Nick Faldo's decision not to include an Irishman as a wildcard pick.
Ballesteros said: "The crowd was low because there was a rugby match (Ireland versus Argentina on Sunday), because Padraig Harrington didn't commit for the team and because not one Irish player was on the GB and Ireland team.
"I want to send a message to Padraig Harrington and say that, really, he's a great champion and I was disappointed he did not play in the Seve Trophy.
"When you are the Open champion, sometimes you have to do things you don't really like -- you have certain obligations towards the game. Not just use the game, take the best from the game and never give back anything. That's not fair.
"He let down me," he continued. "He let down the Seve Trophy, he let down the people from Ireland, especially the people from the Dublin area."
Harrington could best be described as ice-cold furious when told of Ballesteros's comments. His warm, open manner deserted him temporarily as he considered a response before offering a terse: "No comment."
"I did not feel good about (missing) it, but I believe I made the right decision. With the injuries, I wouldn't have been able to play anyway."