Padraig Harrington’s now revealed he is to cut back on his PGA Tour playing schedule to play more in Europe ahead of his expected appointment at the 2020 European Ryder Cup captain.
Harrington remains odds-on favourite to be handed the captaincy role and despite suggestions there is one and possibly two other names being mooted to challenge him for the Whistling Straits position.
And Harrington’s remarks, after muscling his way to a share of second behind fellow Irishman Paul Dunne on the opening day of the Turkish Airlines Open, are just further proof, if needed, he will become the third Irishman in four Ryder Cup’s to captain Europe.
“It does look like I’ll have a tight schedule in the States next year,” said Harrington.
“I’ll probably play the tournaments I’ve always played in the States, but I’ll be playing probably just the 15 events and that will be it.”
“I love playing in the States. I really enjoy it but not being in the World events, not being in the Top‑50 puts you under so much stress trying to play both tours.”
“It’s been tough, and as I said before, I know the courses suit me better in Europe in terms of just that fraction slower greens. And when you’re just slightly off pace in the States, it does feel so much like a sprint. Every day you’re trying to win and you’re just putting yourself under so much pressure.”
“I also enjoy the craic more in Europe, there’s no doubt about it. So it’s a bit, yeah, that side of things at this stage of my career is part of it.”
“You can miss a cut in the States Friday morning, and you play your next round of golf Thursday afternoon. That’s six full days, okay. And this is why a lot of Europeans have struggled in the States. Six days is a lot of time to fill. You can only hit so many balls, and even for me, when I was younger, I hit those balls. But now, it’s really hard those six days.”
“I missed the cut this year in Wentworth I am home for tea and it was like somebody gave me a bonus for missing the cut. It was like somebody says, hey, look at you, you get home and you’re sitting there having your tea that evening at home (smiling and rubbing both hands together).”
Harrington was speaking also after birding three of his opening four holes on route to a round of a six-under par 65 to be sharing second place and with fellow Irishman Paul Dunne heading the $7m event by one stroke after signing for a seven-under par 64.