Harrington wins axe throwing contest and cheese replica of Ryder Cup

Bernie McGuire

European Captain Padraig Harrington and United States Captain Steve Stricker pose together after an axe throwing competition during the Ryder Cup 2020 Year to Go media event at Whistling Straits Golf Course (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images,)

Bernie McGuire

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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has stolen a 12-month advantage over USA team rival Steve Stricker after winning a Ryder Cup replica made of ‘Wisconsin Cheese’ in a bizarre ‘double or nothing’ axe throwing contest at Whistling Straits.

Wisconsin-native Stricker first hosted Harrington to a 14-club challenge on the par-3 17th hole that is laid-out along the Lake Michigan shoreline in what was a final get-together for the 2020 team captains in a five-day ‘Year to Go’ celebration.

The 14-club challenge, played in very overcast and mist-laden conditions, involved each player selecting seven clubs from driver right through to a putter, and scoring a win if finding the green.

Harrington lost the toss, though questioned if it was a ‘Wisconsin coin’ given it had a head on either side and the American, wasting little time, went 1up thanks to landing his 6-iron on the green.

Harrington missed with a 7-iron with Stricker then going 2up hitting his third shot, a 4-iron, onto the green.

Harrington then missed with a 5-iron and a 4-hybrid leading Stricker to remark: ‘Have you managed to hit a green yet?’ ahead of the Dubliner missing with his fourth shot, a 2-hybrid.

Harrington finally got on the board to be 1-down with his sixth club, a driver only for Stricker to win the friendly encounter 3 & 1 when he struck his final club, a Gap Wedge onto the green.

Stricker then invited Harrington into a Whistling Straits maintenance shed for an axe-throwing contest, a sport common in Wisconsin, using specially endorsed 2020 Ryder Cup axes.

It would be a one throw ‘double-or-nothing’ for a replica of the Ryder Cup made of cheese and donated by Harrington.

Stricker quizzed:  “What sort of cheese is it, Padraig?”   Harrington joked:  “Wisconsin cheese”.

Stricker found a portion of the inner circle before Harrington stepped-up to a score a bullseye and the retain the cheese trophy.

“Bullseye. In there and that’s a winner,” said Harrington.

The duo were then observed tucking into the cheese and wishing each other well in a year’s time.

“It’s nice to be with you, Padraig,” said Stricker.  Harrington responded:  “Good luck to you and I hope we can have a great match.”

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