Pádraig Harrington believes that “a bit of tension can help” Europe beat the USA at this year’s Ryder Cup and that the availability of Sergio Garcia and other LIV players would give Luke Donald the best chance of picking his strongest side.
Harrington was speaking at a Mercedes Benz event in Royal Liverpool where he said he expects LIV players to be involved in September’s Ryder Cup in Marco Simone Rome despite the likes of Garcia – who he once had a long running feud with – Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood all resigning their membership from the DP World Tour and being heavily fined.
“I think the Ryder Cup is going to have the LIV players back,” he said. “Luke’s got to pick his best team at the end of the day. Absolutely. Wherever Luke can get his best team out there, he should do that. I know the rules have to change but rules have been changed before. The whole idea of this new [agreement] is, look, let’s not do any harm or damage to anybody in this situation. What I’m suggesting is everybody’s given a kind of clean slate.”
“The [LIV players] definitely warrant consideration. They’re good players. I don’t know if they’re going to be selected in the top 12 players at this stage. But to suggest that there aren’t players capable of being Ryder Cup players over at LIV would be silly. A couple of them are getting . . . like they were at the stage with my team [in 2021] that, you know, maybe it was their last hurrah. But not all of them for sure.”
Rory McIlroy said before the Memorial Tournament that Brooks Koepka should be on the USA Ryder Cup side but none of the European LIV players deserved to be involved. Harrington countered that and explained that the hatchet could be buried for one week at least and gave an anecdote about how he and Garcia used to put their differences aside when representing Europe.
“So I don’t see tension being an issue. Like, you wouldn’t necessarily be partnering them up. But you could have a situation where two LIV players are picked on the team, and they’re so desperate to win five points each to prove the value of LIV, that it could be good.”