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August 23 2012

8:18 PM

Paddy’s Ryder hopes hinge on win

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- To even be considered as a captain's pick for this year's European Ryder Cup team, Padraig Harrington will need to win The Barclays.

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal made it clear Thursday when asked whether Harrington's opening 7-under 64 was the "something extraordinary" the Irishman needed to produce in order to make the team.

It's not. Harrington will need to do more.

"At least a win," Olazabal told reporters at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in Scotland.

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Padraig Harrington in action during his 64 in Thursday's first round.
Harrington, a three-time major winner who has been a member of the last six European Ryder Cup teams, will not be an automatic pick. There are no Ryder Cup points given out to the Europeans playing The Barclays, and Harrington does not sit inside the top 10 who will get automatic spots after this weekend.

Thus, his only hope is to impress Olazabal with his play at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park. He couldn't have done much more on Thursday, especially on the back nine that he played in 6-under 29, including a stretch of four consecutive birdies.

“I saw him atop the leaderboard, giving Jose something to think about at least,” said Rory McIlroy, who has a guaranteed spot on the team. “Depending on how he continues to play this week, it could be a bit of a headache for Jose on Sunday night.”

Harrington didn't deny that his Ryder Cup chances are an additional motivation this week, along with moving up in the FedExCup rankings. He entered this week ranked 62nd but could move to No. 1 with a win.

"There's a lot going on," Harrington said. "This is the FedExCup and that's serious motivation. I would be a liar to tell you that I'm not thinking about the Ryder Cup."

Most of the post-round questions to Harrington involved his Ryder Cup chances. He said that he knows Olazabal will make his captain's picks in the best interests of a European victory.

"From the character that he is, I believe he would put winning way above anything that's personal," Harrington said.

Asked if he could imagine a situation where he won The Barclays and wasn't selected for the Ryder Cup team, Harrington said he considers himself a longshot to make the team.

"It's a tough situation I'm in," he said. "... At the end of the day, we'll see how we get on this week. I'm going to keep playing well and see what happens. I'd dearly love to play in the Ryder Cup."

Asked if Harrington should be on the European team, McIlroy replied: “Yeah, if he’s playing well and he’s in good form going into it, then of course we need the best players on the team.”

Olazabal will make his two captain's picks on Sunday once the automatic selections are finalized. The Ryder Cup between the European and U.S. teams will be Sept. 28-30 at Medinah.

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