European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington sounded a warning to any potential 2020 European Ryder Cup hopeful and that is if you are seeking a Whilstling Straits ‘wildcard’ pick then you better tee-up in the 2020 BMW PGA Championship.
This September’s BMW PGA Championship is the start of the Ryder Cup qualifying process and the 2020 staging of the event is the closing qualifying event to make the European Team
“Nobody has an excuse not to turn up,” said Harrington at a press conference ahead of this week’s PGA Championship.
“They can’t say they’re playing another event or they’re somewhere else… or want to rest.
“If you want a pick you’re going to have to turn up and play a big tournament with the other players who are interested in that pick, so I can make a difficult decision as late as a week before (the Ryder Cup).”
Harrington’s virtual ultimatium comes after he recently announced he intends reducing the number of wildcard picks from four to three players..
The biennial team event will be played next year from 25-27 September at the Whistling Straits course that hugs Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Harrington feels vert strongly that to be eligible for Ryder Cup selection a player has to be a European Tour member in the two years preceding the event.
The issue had become a talking point because European four-times major winner Rory McIlroy indicated late last year that he might let his membership lapse in 2019 to focus on the PGA Tour in the US.
McIlroy, however, diffused the issue recently by confirming he would remain a tour member this year after all.
“It is nice that he has taken membership to put it down on paper and make things a little simpler and less complicated,” Harrington said.
“I would be on the side of making the players jump through a few more hoops to be on the Ryder Cup team.”
Harrington revealed he recently got his first look at the course laid out alnog the Lake Michigan shoreline
“Yeah, you know, I saw a few changes made to the course, a few bunkers changed, a few holes changed. No, I was really — it was more administration stuff in terms of you’re looking at team rooms, hotel rooms, that sort of stuff, trying to figure out where things go,” he said.
“There’s a surprising amount of background stuff to be done at this time in terms of where do you want your physios, where do you want your gym, where do you want your caddies dining, where do you want your players? All the stuff has to be put together in a sequence that — I suppose the captain and the team are going to be comfortable with when it comes around to us.
“I was presented with a plan of the hotel. I kind of knew the facilities at the golf course, but I was presented with a plan — I might as well be looking into a Rorschach looking at a plan on a piece of paper, so that’s why I ended up going up there and having a look at it in person.
“I think it’s quite important during the week of the tournament to have the facilities the way you want them, so I think it’s worth the trip”.