If Nick Faldo is to ignore the wildcard claims of Colin Montgomerie for the Ryder Cup he will not only be working merely against the wishes of the majority of European supporters but also against that of The Open champion. Padraig Harrington yesterday added his weight to the "Pick Monty" campaign. And he did so with some gusto. "It is very important to get the balance in the team and now that I am in, I hope to tee it up with Monty in Valhalla in September," he said yesterday. "Of course, I would look forward to playing with anyone in the team but going back to the last couple of times I have played, I would certainly pick Monty."
Faldo will probably not thank Harrington for saying so as the race looks more complex than ever. While Harrington's elevation was most welcome, Sergio Garcia is the latest big name to drop out of the qualifying positions following his 51st-placed finish. Justin Rose, meanwhile, is hanging on only by the very tips of his glove following his poor showing. It would be unthinkable to leave Garcia, the world No 7, at home and if the positions stay as they are until the deadline on 31 August then Montgomerie, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter and perhaps a fit Luke Donald would be the main candidates battling for the other spot.
Harrington did have some positive words for Faldo as he believes that Poulter, the 32-year-old who achieved England's highest Open placing in 15 years when coming second on Sunday, will make the team by right. "I think it's inevitable he will play his way in with the confidence he has gained," said Harrington.
"Ian's shown he is a big-time player and that's the type you want in the Ryder Cup." That would leave the way clear for Montgomerie, the player who Harrington clearly thinks should again take on the role of playing captain. Said Harrington: "I still feel it is Monty's job if he shows the form he has been in over the last couple of months. He is a totally different man when it comes to the Ryder Cup. I don't think any player would not want to tee it up in a fourball or a foursome with him and go out there and take on anyone in the world."