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Harrington feels at home in Boston

Ireland's Ryder Cup rookie Padraig Harrington says the Boston-area crowd cramming The Country Club for practice ahead of the matches beginning on Friday have helped make him feel right at home.

"It was tremendous actually in practice, the crowds following," Harrington said on Wednesday morning about Tuesday's practice rounds that drew more than 30,000 fans to the course.

"There was a lot of Irish people. Actually, quite a few people that I actually knew, as well. The support is brilliant. It doesn't make it more nerve-racking, let's say, but it helps you concentrate more.

"It inspires you, really, to have 30,000 people watch you hit practice shots. It means there's something special about this week."

Harrington was not only buoyed by Boston's large and supportive Irish population, but by the familiar feel of the old layout where the biennial match-play competition between the United States and Europe will be staged.

"It looks like sort of a European-style golf course designed in the States a number of years ago," said Harrington about the track whose first holes were laid out in 1893.

"It's just a very traditional course from what we would consider an old-style course in, say Great Britain or Ireland.

"Certainly, I'm sure if you looked at course designing textbooks, 50, 60 years ago, this is the design that you would see, this sort of small, round greens, bunkers around us, all sloping in. It really is a beautiful golf course."

Harrington, 28, said he was not sure how many matches he would be asked to play in as Europe sets out to stretch its hold on the Cup to six years, but that it did not matter.

"I think we realize whether we play all five matches or just play one match on Sunday, everybody on the team plays an essential part. The fact that somebody's in good spirits even if they're not playing may boost the guys who are playing.

"And so it's going to be a team effort and regardless of how many times you play, you still have to support the team and be there for the team."


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