Olazabal cool on Harrington’s Ryder Cup wild card bid
JOSE Maria Olazabal, the European Ryder Cup captain, brought Padraig Harrington back to earth with a bang yesterday after the Irishman made a flying start in his last-ditch bid to secure a wild card for next month’s match in Chicago.
Speaking after Harrington had stormed home in 29 for a seven-under-par 64 in the Barclays Championship in New York, the Spaniard said the three-times major champion needed to win the opening FedEx Cup event on Sunday to have a chance of securing one of his two wild cards.
“It’s nice to see that,” said Olazabal, who was told of Harrington’s score after he’d shot a six-over-par 78 in the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Championship on the PGA Centenary Course in Perthshire.
Before the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island a fortnight ago, Olazabal was asked about Harrington’s chances of securing one of the wild cards he’ll announce at Gleneagles on Monday and said he needed to do something “extraordinary”.
Asked yesterday what that now constituted, he said, with a smile: “At least a win.”
Harrington, who has history with Olazabal after they clashed over a rules row during the 2003 Seve Trophy, was delighted with his start in America.
“I’ve been playing well for quite a while, but this is the best I’ve putted,” said the six-times Ryder Cup player. “I don’t want to go in there and try too desperately to beg for a pick. I’ll just leave it be what it is – I’m just going to play golf.”
At Gleneagles, Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, still in with a chance of securing an automatic spot, opened with a three-under 69 to sit just two shots off the lead.
The 29-year-old needs a top-two finish in Perthshire and Olazabal said of that effort: “It’s a solid start. He still has work to do and we will see what he does.”
Australian Brett Rumford and little-known Norwegian Knut Borsheim set the pace with five-under 67s, but among those just a shot behind the two leaders are Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari, the only two Ryder Cup team members in this week’s field.
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