Being a leader on the course requires your clubs to do the talking, says Padraig Harrington. (Getty Images)
Three-time major champion Harrington assumes role of senior statesman
As he prepares to play in his sixth Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington is making sure he is offering as much advice and dispensing as much confidence as he can to his team-mates both on the course and off.
As one of the most experienced members of the European Team, three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland has taken on a senior role in the locker room.
The Dubliner, who will be making his sixth Ryder Cup appearance at The Celtic Manor Resort this week, has been making a conscious effort to offer more help and advice to his team-mates – particularly the six rookies.
“I’m definitely trying to do as much as I can,” said Harrington. “I’m trying to talk to the rookies, and give them as much advice as I can and give them as much confidence as I can.
“I’m definitely much more proactive about what I’m doing than I maybe would’ve been in past years. I want to make sure I give as much back as I can this week, both off the golf course and on the course.
“I think being a leader on the golf course, that really requires your golf clubs to do the talking. That’s where Monty was obviously fantastic at going head-to-head, and controlling the situation.
“His win against Scott Hoch in 2002 was worth easily more than a point to the Team. I was on the range watching, and everybody got such a buzz on the European Team about how he started that match and carried on.
“It would be nice to play like that on the golf course, but it’s definitely more about tournament play. I’m definitely making an effort off the golf course and the Team room just to give a little bit more.”
Harrington’s form on the course was effusively praised by Montgomerie on Tuesday, with the two-time Open Champion making two eagles and seeing a 40ft putt lip out for another.
It was not quite the same story this morning, when he struggled with his driving over the opening few holes, but Harrington was pleased to rediscover his rhythm thereafter.
“Today I started poorly and played well after that,” he said. “It doesn’t really count for much anyway. Friday morning onwards, you’ve got to start well and just keep it going.”
Harrington partnered Ross Fisher on Wednesday, losing narrowly to Lee Westwood and Peter Hanson over ten holes, but the Irishman would not be drawn on who he will be alongside come Friday.
“We have a good idea at this stage who we are going to be paired up with,” he said. “I certainly can say I have an idea within three or four people – is that enough?
“The best way to do it is pair me with 11 people. I’ll agree with ten of them and the 11th I’ll deny it, and that’s probably the guy I’ll play with!”
Harrington also admitted to feeling the need to defend his position on the Team, after he was selected as one of the Captain’s three wild card picks, whilst Montgomerie has urged people to judge Harrington on Monday, when the result will be known.
Montgomerie expects Harrington to deliver some vital points for his side, but the Irishman made a point of emphasising how results are not the only measure of a player’s success.
“I would gladly have the same results as I personally had in 2006 for a winning week,” Harrington said. "That’s all that counts, whether the Team wins.
“A person can influence his team-mates so much in the back room that it affects the result. Individual scores can be nice, but I know I won my singles match in 1999 and was on the greatest high ever, for about two minutes. And then I was as disappointed as I’d ever been.
“I certainly realised in that moment it is all about the Team. If we can get a win this week, everybody will have an effect on it, regardless of the points they get and when they do it.
“The classic is Seve [Ballesteros] in his last Ryder Cup against Tom Lehman. He drew out that match so long, and although he still lost, the momentum that he gave to the rest of his team, because of the way he fought that out, was tremendous. So you can’t always judge it just on pure results alone.”