x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The Ryder of hope

Colin Montgomerie hopes Padraig Harrington can help give him one last shot at the Ryder Cup by winning the European Open.

Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, gathered at The London Golf Club in Kent, England, to unveil the European Tour branding.
Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie, gathered at The London Golf Club in Kent, England, to unveil the European Tour branding.

LONDON // Colin Montgomerie is hoping Padraig Harrington can help give him one last shot at the Ryder Cup by winning the European Open this weekend - providing he does not retain the trophy himself! The Cup talk dominated at the London Golf Club yesterday with the duo hoping to put themselves in the automatic selection spot to face the US in September.

With other former Cup heroes like Luke Donald, currently injured, Paul Casey and Darren Clarke also sweating for a place, Montgomerie admits it will be tough for the captain Nick Faldo to pick his two wild cards if they all fail to make it into the top 10 of Europe's standings. He is currently 14th with Harrington 17th and he said: "I would pick Padraig and Luke if it was tomorrow. So I hope they do well and give me an opportunity.

"There are a number of people who you would expect to be there in the standings, but are not. If you look at the top 10 right now, Faldo would have a real difficult job right now if he had to pick. "But there are a number of big events to come before then and the cream rises in these situations. I would hope players like them, Garcia and Casey would all get in and give me more of an opportunity. I don't feel I've played my last Ryder Cup. It will be a shame if I have. I think I have at least one left to play.

"It's been part of my life since 1991 and I don't feel I'm ready to give that up. It's getting harder, there's no question about it. I'm 45 now and you have to dig a little deeper every time. But it's nice to know that it's there." Sergio Garcia will also be battling for success at the European Open as he looks to stay in the top 10. It will be the first time Garcia and Harrington have played together on British soil since last July's Open where the Irishman claimed the trophy after a play-off.

Harrington is hoping to find his form again for Royal Birkdale in two weeks' time, but would also like Montgomerie to finally claim his first Major title and ensure he has a place in the Ryder Cup team. The Scot finished second in the French Open last weekend to give himself a chance after falling outside the world's top 100. "It's nice to see him playing well," said Harrington. "If I'm not to defend The Open I would be delighted to see him win a major, particularly The Open.

"Personally I would be all for Monty in the Ryder Cup team. He leads from the front and steps up a couple of levels." Garcia is playing here rather than the Scottish Open as he targets the Open again and said: "Loch Lomond (course) is good to get your competitive juices going, but it has more of a Links look here. "I've had my chances, but hopefully can get to the next level and hopefully start winning majors."

Justin Rose is also part of a very strong field for this tournament and feels he is in good shape, despite missing the halfway cut in the US Open. The world No9 said: "I feel good about my game. For me, the US Open is history now. I've got to put it behind me and get ready for the next big challenge." @Email:akhan@thenational.ae