European team members Padraig Harrington and Peter Hanson will complete their final preparation for the Ryder Cup by playing in this week’s Vivendi Cup at Golf de Joyenval near Paris.
There’s a new venue and a new format for the Vivendi Cup in 2010. Formerly a team event played between Great Britain and Ireland and Continental Europe, this year the tournament will be contested over 72 holes with the first 36 played as a pro-am.
The event will be contested at the exclusive Golf de Joyenval Course just outside Paris. Play will be over the club’s Retz and Marly courses for the first 36 holes with the leading 65 and ties going on to play 36 more over the Marly course. Both layouts were designed by Rober Trent Jones Snr.
Harrington has been feeling the pressure in the weeks following Colin Montgomerie’s confirmation of the Irishman as one of his wildcard picks for Celtic Manor. With Paul Casey returning impressive results Stateside, the onus is on Harrington to justify his selection.
“Monty has picked me for my experience and of course, after getting a pick, you’re always going to be keen to do it justice,” Harrington said. “You’re always keen to have a good week.”
Harrington’s fellow Ryder Cup team member Peter Hanson will be hoping to continue the form that saw him claim the Czech Open title last month and secure an automatic berth in Monty’s squad.
Also in the field are last week’s winner Jose Manuel Lara and 2004 Open champion Todd Hamilton. There’s also a strong representation from the host nation including Gregory Havret and young Victor Dubuisson who only recently turned professional.
Venue: Golf de Joyenval, Chambourcy, Paris
Date: Sep 23-26
Course stats: Marly: par 72, 6,729 yards; Retz: par 72, 6,811 yards
Purse: €1,250,000 Winner: €204,160
Defending Champion: Inaugural tournament in this format
Thursday 23 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am
Friday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am
Saturday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 12pm
Sunday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 12pm
Padraig Harrington – With Ryder Cup team members showing such great form in recent weeks – Fisher, Kaymer, Hanson, Molinari and Jimenez all winning through August and September – the Irishman will be desperate to prove his worth. He’s piled the pressure on himself and now it’s time to deliver.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – The Spaniard is one of the best tee-to-green players on tour. His putting is suspect but he’s shown signs of finding his form on the greens – he averaged 28 putts a round last week in Austria. If he can hole some putts, he’ll be right up there.
Jose Manuel Lara – He’s on a great run – fourth in the KLM and a win last week in Austria. He’s a notoriously streaky player so look for him to continue in the same vein this time out.
Key hole: 18th – Marly Course. It’s a relatively short closing hole at just 397 yards. It offers a late birdie chance that could see changes at the top of the leaderboard right at the death.
Skills required: Scoring on the par 5s. The longest of the four on the Marly course is just 537 yards so all are reachable in two (depending on wind conditions.) Expect to see plenty of birdies and more than the odd eagle on the long holes.