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Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Padraig Harrington  (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington (Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington aims to put an even bigger smile on Colin Montgomerie's face as Europe head into The Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor next week.

Montgomerie has seen nearly half of his team - Ross Fisher, Martin Kaymer (twice), Peter Hanson, Edoardo Molinari and Miguel Angel Jiménez - win titles since the start of last month.

He has also had the boost of Lee Westwood, his star man, declaring himself fit after months battling with a torn calf muscle.

Now Harrington, having been given a wild card, is in Paris looking to end over two years without a European Tour victory.

For the first two rounds of the Vivendi Cup 2010 at Golf de Joyenval the Dubliner will have his brother Fergal alongside him, the tournament being conducted as a pro-am over two courses until it reaches its halfway point.

"We're brothers - that means a lot of competition," said Harrington. "I would have grown up playing all of my golf with Fergal. As a kid he's 18 months older than me; so we would have played a lot as a junior.

"The last time I would have played, usually I get a couple of games in during the winter - we tend to go to a new venue or something like that.

"My brother would be the keenest golfer in the family. He's a terrible we'll go play golf during the winter and he'll want to play off the back tees. I'm going ‘no, I want to play off the forward tees'. He's a real diehard golfer.

"I always like the pro am format, because over the years, I concentrate on my partner if things are not going well with me or stay with myself. "You can move your focus around to keep you on a nice high, let's say, a nice buzz on the golf course in terms of if your partner holes a putt, it feels like you've made birdie and keeps you going.

"I could see how this format could have a reflection on next week - that you're quite happy next week if your partner makes all of the birdies, you have no problem with that. And I know through my Ryder Cups at times, you have to figure out how to get the best out of your playing partner, and that means keeping him going the way he is."

Despite looking forward to some on-course sibling rivalry this week, Harrington admits he cannot imagine being in the position of Francesco and Edoardo Molinari, who are set to become the first brothers to represent Europe in The Ryder Cup next week.

"Obviously they won the World Cup, so they must be able to play golf," he added. "I know one of my brothers says he refuses to ever play golf in front of me because he can't play when I'm around. He's always thinking I'm looking at his golf swing or something like that."

Harrington, who added the event to his schedule after falling out of the US PGA FedEx Cup play-off series in America, is hoping to improve his points haul after not firing on all cylinders during both the 2006 win at The K Club and the defeat in Louisville two years ago.

That week came just after he had lifted The Open Championship and US PGA Championship in under a month, and he admits: "I was flat then.

"Whatever happens this time I don't think I'm going to be flat. I'm hoping for The Ryder Cup to be my peak this year.

"I'm working towards that and definitely there's a sense of expectation.

"There's definitely more pressure, but pressure brings a bit more adrenaline, more nerves, more focus."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PARRY, JohnENG18-17
2EDFORS, JohanSWE18-15
T3KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-14
T3SANDELIN, JarmoSWE18-14
T3DELAMONTAGNE, FrançoisFRA18-14
T3DERKSEN, Robert-JanNED18-14
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