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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Torrance & Bjorn urge Harrington to remain his own man

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Padraig Harrington has arrived in Wisconsin for the 2020 Ryder Cup ‘Year-To-Go’ ceremony with two former victorious European Team captains urging the Irishman to stay ‘his own man’.

Harrington jetted out of Edinburgh mid-morning Monday bound for Chicago before a two-and-a-half hour drive north to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The triple Major winner is no stranger to the course laid out along the shoreline of Lake Michigan having contested the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships at the often windswept venue.

Harrington fared none too well having finished midfield on his first appearance before sitting out the weekend rounds in both ’10 and ’15 and now since being appointed European Team captain, he made a first visit at the end of April earlier this year.

Harrington and rival USA Team Captain, Wisconsin-born Steve Stricker, will host a joint press conference at 2pm Irish time (TUES) at Whistling Straits.

And what could be more accommodating for Harrington and leading European Team officials with the conference to be held in the Irish Barn, a luxurious ‘fieldstone’ structure reminiscent of the Irish countryside that overlooks holes No. 9, No. 10 and No. 18 that run alongside Lake Michigan.

Harrington had been a playing member of Torrance’s 2002 winning team and then last year the Dubliner acted as a vice-captain under Bjorn’s victorious Versailles winning side.

Torrance, who recently announced his retirement from pro golf, said: “Padraig was in my team when we won at The Belfry and he would have learnt so much from all the European Teams he’s played in, and more-so since being made a vice-captain.

“He will have gleaned so much from being in both good and bad teams, so that means he will know not to make ‘that’ mistake and I will definitely do ‘that’.

“My best advice to Padraig will be to trust his instinct, trust your heart in his decision-making as there will be big decisions to make during the course of the Ryder Cup week with regards to pairings in the afternoon and with the morning matches not having finished as those decisions will be huge.

“I’m sure Padraig will get that aspect right and knowing him, as well I now do, he is meticulous.”

Bjorn is very much on the same page as Torrance when asked about Harrington.

“Padraig was just fantastic as one of my own vice-captains with the players enjoying having him around, and with me knowing Padraig very well and for so long, he contributed so much to our victory,” said Bjorn.

“His decision to appoint Robert (Karlsson) as his first vice-captain is such a smart move as Robert does a great job behind the scenes.

“My only advice to Padraig is that he has to do what he feels is right and I said from the day he was confirmed as Captain, he has to do it his way and what he believes in.

“We are all very different but then Padraig has been around long enough, and has seen enough to know what he has to do and while the qualifying process is now underway, all Ryder Cup captains know that it’s not until the last two to three months you then begin to look at the team make-up closer.

“Yes, the team will be taking shape and that’s a good thing about qualifying but Padraig will know not to put too much focus until you get down to those last few months and weeks.”

 

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