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Harrington wants Monty for Europe

Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie were team-mates for Europe in the 2006 win at the K Club
Harrington and Montgomerie were a key part of Europe's 2006 success

Ireland's Padraig Harrington has added his backing to calls for Colin Montgomerie to be included in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

The Scot is 14th in the Ryder Cup standings, with only the top 10 certain to play at Valhalla in September, with two further captain's picks.

"I would be all for Monty. He leads from the front," said Harrington.

Montgomerie, however, says he would pick Harrington and Luke Donald if he was selecting the team right now.

Harrington added: "I don't think you can bring Monty in and, say, play him at number eight. He has to be in a position that you can bring him in and say 'Monty, you're the playing captain'.

"He needs to be leading. But he needs to be in form to do that."

Montgomerie has the chance to play himself into the frame at this week's European Open at Kent's London Club.

A second-place finish at the French Open last week suggested Montgomerie, who has a superb Ryder Cup record, is coming back to form after a spell in the doldrums.

He says he would love to play himself into an automatic spot and believes he will add to the eight Ryder Cups he has been involved in.

"I don't feel I've played my last Ryder Cup - it will be a shame if I have. I think I have at least one left to play," he said.

"It's been part of my life since 1991 and I don't feel I'm ready to give that up."

With almost two months still to go before the Ryder Cup squads are finalised, both Montgomerie and Harrington - who is 17th on the list - are hoping to get into the squad without the need for a wildcard from captain Nick Faldo.

Montgomerie is the defending champion at the 2.4m European Open, which has moved to Kent after 13 years at The K Club in Ireland.

"I know that it's a different golf course, but I have played The London Club a few times and I have gained some confidence, so I look forward to it now," he said.

The tournament will also see Spain's Sergio Garcia look to shore up his place in the Ryder Cup reckoning, while England's Justin Rose is hoping to rediscover his best form.

"I've got five weeks in England, which will be great," said Rose.

"For me, the US Open (where he missed the cut) is history now. I've got to put it behind me and get ready for the next big challenge.

"I feel good about my game - things are going in the right direction and I'm working hard."

Surprise French Open winner Pablo Larrazabal is having the week off, but Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley are in action and seeking top-five finishes to qualify for the Open at Royal Birkdale.

The tournament will also mark the start of the Tour's drug-testing era, although no details have yet been given on exactly when the first samples will be taken from players.

"Testing can start any time from 1 July," said director of tour operations David Garland. "It may happen this week, next week or other weeks down the line."

see also
Monty wins legends vote
19 Sep 04 |  Golf

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