Padraig Harrington and Peter Hanson aim to become the latest members of The 2010 Ryder Cup Team to demonstrate their wellbeing for Wales at the Vivendi Cup.
The Irishman, searching for his first victory of the year and the Swede, who recently captured the Czech Golf Open, are looking to continue the impressive run of Colin Montgomerie’s Wales-bound players, who have claimed six wins in the last eight European Tour events.
With just a week to go before the European and United States Teams gather at The Celtic Manor Resort, the duo will undoubtedly be the main focus of attention at Golf de Joyenval on the outskirts of Paris.
No-one will be keener to catch a glimpse of Harrington and Hanson’s form than Montgomerie himself, who will be able to rely on two of his Vice Captains – Thomas Bjӧrn and Paul McGinley who are both playing in Paris – to report on their progress as the tournament develops.
Harrington is looking to play his way back to his Major-winning best this week after being selected as one of Montgomerie’s three wild card picks four weeks ago at Gleneagles.
The Irishman’s vast experience will be a key factor in a European Team that contains six rookies and he has vowed to give everything to the European cause to repay the faith shown in him by his Captain.
“Monty has picked me for my experience and of course, after getting a pick, you’re always going to be keen to do it justice,” Harrington said. “You’re always keen to have a good week but there’s a lot of stuff you could do behind the scenes as well that are important during the week. That’s every bit part of being in a team environment. You say the right things and do the right things and help people out as much as you can.”
Before attempting to help his Ryder Cup team mates win back the famous golden trophy, Harrington will be hoping to help his brother, Fergal, with the first 36 holes at the Vivendi Cup being played as a Team Pro-Am event involving one professional and one amateur over the Retz and Marly Courses at Golf de Joyenval.
The leading 65 professionals and those tied for 65th place will contest the final 36 holes over the Marly course for a prize fund of €1,250,000 with €25,000 allocated to the team event.
Hanson, meanwhile, one of Europe’s in-form Ryder Cup stars following his victory at the Czech Open that secured his place in the Team, is looking to fine tune rather than find form in Paris.
There are, of course, many other players in the field this week who are entering the final part of The Race to Dubai in excellent shape, none more so than Spain’s José Manuel Lara who triumphed so dramatically at last week’s Austrian GolfOpen presented by Botarin after a sudden-death play-off with England’s David Lynn.
Add to that a strong home challenge from France’s finest and another fascinating week on The European Tour is in prospect before the sporting world turns its focus towards The Ryder Cup.