Harrington faces hard graft

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The Independent Online
Padraig Harrington and the Spaniard Ignacio Garrido prefer to be different as they battle for Ryder Cup points at the Czech Open in Prague this week.

The Irishman, though heartened by a late invitation to next week's USPGA Championship, believes the European team will not be decided until the final counting event, the BMW International in Munich, at the end of the month. He refuses to take anything for granted.

Garrido, in contrast, believes he will now make the team, especially as he, too, has received a late invitation to the USPGA.

Harrington, who is in 11th place in the Cup table, does admit: "It's a huge advantage to go to the USPGA but it will be tiring. I'm playing the USPGA, then the European Open [in Ireland] and the BMW, which means I shall have played eight times in nine weeks.

"I'm giving myself every chance of making the team and if my Ryder Cup place was in the bag I'd take a week off. But I don't think it will be in the bag. It will go down to the wire."

Garrido, second at the Scandinavian Masters last Sunday which took him him to 10th place, has a different view.

"Things seem to be going my way," he says. "I've been invited to the USPGA, I'm in good form and I don't feel nervous. I think I will make the team now."

Though 13 of the top 20 in the table are in the Czech field there are three notable absentees, Sweden's Per-Ulrich Johansson, Thomas Bjorn, of Denmark, and the Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin, currently sixth, seventh and eighth.

Johansson is resting this week, Martin has had a wrist operation, which will keep him inactive for six weeks, and Bjorn has an ankle injury. Which presents Harrington and Garrido with the opportunity to overhaul them.