Padraig Harrington’s thoughts are already turning to the season’s final Major at Kiawah Island as he looks to force his way into the Ryder Cup reckoning.
The Irishman has played in every Ryder Cup team since he made his debut in 1999 but at two over par after 54 holes after a third round 70 in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes his hopes of a high finish are fading and he will need something spectacular in the few remaining events to force his way into the qualifying places.
The fact that he is also not qualified for the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational at this stage makes his bid to climb from 20th into the top ten on the Ryder Cup points list to make the team automatically rather than rely on a wild card pick all the more difficult, putting even more emphasis on the US PGA Championship next month.
“That's completely on my mind now,” said Harrington when asked for his thoughts on Kiawah. “I'll go out and play tomorrow, try and shoot a good score. If I didn't win this week, I think I needed to finish top five, anyway, to get enough points to get into Bridgestone. So that's a tough call now. So my mind is very much focused on getting my game in good shape for Kiawah Island.”
His World Cup triumph with Paul McGinley in 1997 at Kiawah Island will, however, rekindle happy memories of the South Carolina venue. “I like the idea of going back there, that's for sure. Who knows with things like that.”