European Ryder Cup Captain Padraig Harrington has thrown down the selection gauntlet to potential qualifiers such as Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre declaring, if his scores are good enough, he’ll be on the September flight to Wisconsin.
Harrington was speaking in Munich following the announcement of the appointment of Graeme McDowell and double major winning German, Martin Kaymer as a third and fourth Whistling Straits vice-captains.
McDowell’s selection is no surprise having played in four Ryder Cups, including holing the winning putt in 2010 at Celtic Manor, with the Northern Irishman also a winning vice-capturing under Thomas Bjorn in 2018 at Versailles.
McDowell is also already ear-marked to be handed the 2027 European captaincy for Adare Manor in Ireland.
Kaymer’s announcement was a surprise given his recent return to good form and strong course knowledge in also having won the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, with Harrington admitting Kaymer could still make the team on merit.
McDowell and Kaymer will join both Robert Karlsson and Luke Donald as vice captains and Harrington will announce a fifth vice captain in the weeks just prior to the 24th September start of competition.
With just 13 weeks to the end of European Team qualifying on September 12th, and following the final round of the BMW PGA Championship, the message was clear from Harrington to the likes of MacIntyre.
Harrington said: “We’re not here to judge their golf as their scores judge their golf. Just go out and play good golf like Jon Rahm did last week. Go out and win a major.
“Be individuals and perform to the best of your ability and bring your own personal confidence into the tournament, so that’s what you can do at the moment.
“It doesn’t matter how someone gets the job done, it’s the score they shoot at the end of the day that’s important.
“It’s important for me as the Captain, along with the vice-captains, to build bonds with players but we’re not there to judge how they get the job done.
“So, I would say to Bob MacIntyre and all the other players, just go out and play golf. Just go out and be themselves and play their game, go out and perform on the golf course and that is what will impress us”.
Harrington insists looking at the present European Ryder Cup team standings there may be, at best, room for two ‘rookies’ with one almost certain to be Viktor Hovland.
If there is a second rookie to qualify it could be either Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, currently fifth on the ‘European’ points table, Frenchman Victor Perez (6th) while Italian sensation Guido Migliozzi leaped three spots to seventh after his share of fourth and in a first major at last week’s U.S. Open.
In contrast, MacIntyre went backwards in dropping a spot to 10th on the rankings.
“There’s going to be a lot of movement on the points table in the coming weeks what with double qualifying points on offer, so anyone looking to qualify has just got to play good golf,” said Harrington.
“If you qualify automatically then good but any experienced player that gets close or reasonably close will be in with a shot for one of those three captain’s picks.
“Though I will say it is tight for the three picks as you have probably half-a-dozen vying for those positions and also there are as many as five or six experienced players seeking a pick.
“So, it’s pretty tight for those three picks and there’s no doubt about that”.
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