By petedirenzo
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

En Fuego Irishman There's no doubt that European captain Colin Montgomerie has taken a lot of heat for selecting struggling vet Padraig Harrington in lieu of (among others) Justin Rose and Paul Casey. If the practice rounds this week are anything to go by, Monty might be able to breath a sigh of relief when all is said and done. According to the Irish Golf Desk's Brian Keogh, Harrington and partner Luke Donald took a nice chunk of change off their teammates yesterday.

Padraig Harrington sent Ian Poulter scuttling to the cash machine to pay off his debts after hitting red-hot form at Celtic Manor.
Poulter confessed that he and Irish Open champion Ross Fisher were “cleaned out” by Harrington and Luke Donald to the tune of nearly €450 when the Dubliner hit two eagles and a handful of birdies in a practice fourball clash.
Believing Harrington will justify his wildcard and become a real danger man this week, Poulter groaned: “Paddy played exceptionally well this morning, which is great for the team but bad for my pocket.
“He drove it straight and long and put it in position for 18 holes today and that’s great. I’ve got nothing left thanks to Luke and Padraig. They cleaned me out, cleaned Ross and myself out. “Paddy had two eagles today and he horseshoed out from 40 feet to make it three eagles. They made an awful lot of birdies and eagles out there. Good fun - for them.”
Did you feel a sudden draft? Don't go to close your window, that's just Monty patting himself on the back from 4,000 miles away:
Harrington’s brilliant form has delighted European skipper Colin Montgomerie who is convinced that the triple major winning Dubliner is going to do the business for him when the action starts on Friday. Asked abut the flak he has taken for handing Harrington a wildcard, Monty said: “I feel the criticism was very unjustified to be honest. “I know what Padraig Harrington can do, and that’s why he was picked. He’s like a rookie out there today...
“There’s reasons why Padraig Harrington was picked, and judge me about that selection on October the 4th and not on September the 28th.”
Pride on the Line? still own the "American" tour
So what's on the line here? What are we really talking about: gift bags, cocktail parties, patriotic pomp? Or is there really something of substance on the line at Celtic Manor?
On at least one level, albeit somewhat undefinable, there is.
From late April until the start of the FedExCup Playoffs, non-Americans won 12 of 17 events on the PGA Tour, also known as the American tour. The season started with Phil Mickelson's feel-good story at Augusta National. It ended with foreign-good stories, as the next three majors were won by players not fully affiliated with the PGA Tour. Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen won the British Open and Germany's Martin Kaymer captured the PGA Championship...
The bottom line is the Red, White and Bland has its work cut out, as well as something to prove. The game may not have been invented in America, but for many years it was perfected here. That is becoming less obvious as the PGA Tour becomes increasingly cut with European, Australian, South African and global talents.
The integration hasn't quite reached the flush level of the Asian presence on the LPGA Tour, but the trend is undeniable. The balance of power in golf is shifting, and the Ryder Cup is the perfect backdrop for an American rebuttal.
Our preppie pros truly are competing for some semblance of American pride. This time, it appears the Boys of Ashworth have a statement to make, an affirmation that says the backbone of competitive golf still resides in the good, ol' U.S. of A.
Hubba Bubba one of golf's greatest players
When Clinton remarked, "I've dreamed of getting a lesson from Annika Sorenstam," the crowd interpreted the comment as a double entendre, not the compliment it presumably was meant to be. The nervous laughter that ensued had Clinton quickly moving on to the next honoree.

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