Padraig Harrington served notice of his Ryder Cup intentions at Bethpage but only a win will get him on the European team for next month’s match against the Americans.
The Dubliner holds a one shot lead after the first round of The Barclays in Farmingdale after European captain Jose Maria Olazabal said only a win will get Harrington onto his team.
The former USPGA and British Open winner responded to that comment by shooting a seven-under-par 64 to lead by one stroke from Americans Nick Watney and Brian Harman in the FedEx opener.
Harrington is well aware that only a captain’s pick will get him onto Olazabal’s team with England’s Ian Poulter already all but guaranteed one of two wildcard choices.
But eight birdies, including six of the last seven holes, in his seven-under round on the par-71 course on Thursday will help Harrington convince Olazabal to put their troubled past behind him when it comes to finalising his team for the Ryder Cup at Medinah.
Harrington told reporters: “I don’t know where I sit. Or maybe I do.
“I’m not really going to get into and discuss because I’m either going to do one of two things: I’m either going to look like I’m pleading or I’m going to look like I’m incriminating myself, one or the other.
“As I keep saying to people, you over here have this thing called the Fifth Amendment. I’m going to plead the Fifth.
“I’m not going to build myself up or I’m not going to tear myself down. At the end of the day, it’s up to him.”
Asked if an incident that occurred nine years ago when the pair argued over a ruling could influence Olazabal, Harrington replied: “You really have done your homework.
“I was very supportive of Jose when he got the captaincy. I truly believe that he’s interested in winning the Ryder Cup. From the character that he is, I believe he would put winning w ay above anything that’s personal.”
Rory McIlroy posted a two-under 69 and commented on Harrington’s form when he said: “I saw him atop the leader board, giving Jose something to think about at least.”