Two years ago Padraig Harrington led a European Ryder Cup side that faced the might of a red-hot USA team along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Now with just a few weeks to the hosting of the 2023 Ryder Cup could it be Luke Donald’s Europeans who become the victorious Roman golfing gladiators?
That’s the view of Harington as now Donald attempts to continue Europe’s unbeaten Ryder Cup 26-year long home record in not having lost a Ryder Cup on home soil since 1997.
“I think we’re (Europe) in a really good place going into this Ryder Cup,” said Harrington after learning the make-up of Donald’s full side.
“Our top players, for sure, are the best in the world. If they can get the best out of our middle and end rank of our team, I think home advantage on the course…I don’t want to use the word favourites – I don’t want to give that tag and we always want to play as underdogs – but I’m very bullish about the European team this time around.
“Clearly the US team were peaking in 2021, and if anything Europe was coming off a peak. Now Europe is back on top of the world.
“The US are strong, but in some ways they have weakened themselves with LIV, whereas I don’t think Europe has necessarily weakened themselves.
“Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, would they make it if everything was seamless in golf?”
And while happy with Donald’s six ‘wildcard’ picks, Harrington spoke of Poland’s Adrian Meronk’s disappointment, saying Donald’s only big decision came down to a straight choice between Meronk, who won the Irish, Australian and Italian Open crowns from July 2022 to May this year, and Nicolai Hojgaard, with the 22-year-old Dane getting the nod.
“Adrian Meronk was sitting in the hot seat, and unfortunately for him, as good a player as he is and he has played this year, over the last couple of weeks, Nicolai Hojgaard has stated his case,” said Harrington.
“While Adrian didn’t play badly, he just wasn’t the best player in the last few weeks. Maybe there is more razzmatazz about Nicolai, and certainly he has played better golf the last few weeks.”
- Harrington was speaking on Irish radio 2 fm’s Game On.