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Page last updated at 05:36 GMT, Tuesday, 12 August 2008 06:36 UK

Harrington 'to boost Ryder team'

Padraig Harrington
Harrington is the man the US players all want to beat

European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo believes Padraig Harrington's major double will be a huge boost as his side go for a fourth consecutive success.

After the Irishman added the US PGA title to his Open success Faldo said: "He's going to bring something very special to the team.

"I was delighted and impressed with Padraig's performance.

"Having the only current major champion at the Ryder Cup will add significant weight to our campaign."

Ryder Cup debutant Boo Weekley, one of three new caps already in the United States side, confirmed Harrington is the man his team all want to beat.

"He's got a target on his back - yes sir," he said.

"I want to beat anybody I tee it up against and it would be an honour to beat him."

Justin Leonard, back in the team for the first time since the controversial scenes that followed his 45-foot putt against Jose Maria Olazabal in 1999, said the Irishman's 66-66 finish to win the US PGA was "almost unimaginable".


The former Open champion added: "I don't know about a target on his back, but he's certainly their best player right now and I look forward to the challenge."

After the European team's recent dominance, US captain Paul Azinger concedes this time his side will be the underdogs, but believes that will mean they face less pressure.

He said: "We are going to take on an underdog role in this Ryder Cup for the first time in a long time, even on paper when you look at the strength of the European squad.

"But I think the pressure will be on them a little more than maybe it's going to be on us. We're playing on our home soil and Europe is going to have everything to lose here in these matches.

"It's usually the other way around. Even though they won five of the last six, somehow they just seem to come in as the underdog.

"I don't know how that works - this time I think it's clear that we are the underdogs."

see also
European Ryder Cup rankings
11 Aug 08 |  Golf

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