Padraig Harrington ready to play the lead role(Getty Images)

Harrington relishing the Valhalla pressure

By Steve Todd- Europeantour.com

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Padraig Harrington insists he can handle the pressure of heading into The Ryder Cup on the back of successive Major wins but admitted the adrenaline will be flowing on the first tee on Friday.

Harrington's recent victories at The Open Championship and the US PGA Championship, added to his Claret Jug from 2007, mean he is certain to be even more of a focal point than he was on home soil at The K Club two years ago.

With no Tiger Woods in the field, Harrington shares the mantle of the most decorated player at Valhalla with America's Phil Mickleson, who also has three Major wins.

The Irishman believes his batteries are sufficiently charged from a summer in which he created history individually and he is hoping to write a new Ryder Cup chapter by helping Europe defeat the United States for a fourth successive victory.

"I think this is a great thing, it's The Ryder Cup," said Harrington. "I think there will be lots of pressure, lots of nerves and lots of adrenaline come Friday morning, and that can only help me."

Harrington promised that his new found responsibility as one of Europe's senior players would not lead to him changing the game that has brought him so much success over the past two years.

"I lead by example by approaching everything every day the same way," he said. "No matter what the situation, I'm trying the exact same as if it was a big deal or a very little. And by that, I lead by example.

"I don't get the highs and lows that maybe other guys get. I tend to keep it nice and solid and consistent. Hopefully I'll lead by example by managing myself this week and approaching the game the right way, and as I said, not allowing myself to get too high or too low in the course of the matches."

Harrington said while he would be willing to open the singles on Sunday - the role occupied by Colin Montgomerie in 2006 -- and attempt to galvanize Europe on the final day, he would be equally comfortable playing at the tail end and perhaps facing the pressure of a winning putt.

"I've thought about the Monty role on Sunday. As I say, I won't play any different golf if I'm playing at number one or number 12. I'll go out and approach it the same way and do the same thing.

"Monty, he played vastly different and improved so much by playing him number one compared to playing him number one. It just made the man to be out there as number one and to be leading. You know, there's no point in wasting that spot on me. Maybe I will go out number one, but it's unlikely. If there's another person there who can relish it, let's say, give it to them. I'd pride myself on treating every situation the same and just being able to play the 72nd hole of a major like I'm playing the 18th hole of a friendly game of golf.

"I'm a good player at being able to do my own thing. I've always tried to play at the tail in The Ryder Cup in order to get the sort of pressure situation. I don't know if it's going to be different this time, but certainly I'm the leading player on the team to be out there and do those things."

One of the younger players who will be looking to Harrington for some guidance and inspiration will be Graeme McDowell and Harrington was full of praise for his fellow Irishman, who is one of four Ryder Cup rookies for Europe.

"Graeme is playing really nice golf and I will be keen to tee it up with him at some stage and get out there and play. He's a really solid player and he looks like his mind is right and ready to go this week."