Sport Ryder Cup

Sunday 20 October 2019

Harrington feels McIlroy's course pain as he eyes Ryder puzzle

Padraig Harrington. Photo: Getty Images
Padraig Harrington. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Keogh

European skipper Pádraig Harrington will pick horses for courses when he names his Ryder Cup wildcards for Whistling Straits next year.

So it was no surprise to him to hear Rory McIlroy call for tougher course set-ups when he plays on the European Tour.

"Rory has been the best player in the game for a number of years now," Harrington said after a joint press conference at Whistling Straits with opposite number Steve Stricker.

"Clearly he'd want the toughest set-up for his golf. He hits the ball a mile and can break a golf course down just by hitting his tee shots.

"I can see where he is coming from. He has a better chance on a tougher golf course. As regards the Ryder Cup, I am distinctly aware of the task ahead on this style of golf course."

Harrington has already said Open champion Shane Lowry is the kind of player few will relish facing in tough conditions in 12 months' time and if there's a "changing of the guard" in Europe's ranks, the Offaly man is a rookie he'd welcome.

"I am looking at my players and wishing I had a certain style of player who will make the team," Harrington said.

"I don't have that choice when it comes to the first nine.

"With the last three, there is no doubt I will be picking players based on how well I think they can perform on this golf course."

As flood warnings sounded across Wisconsin, Harrington could not resist telling Stricker he felt right at home on a rainy morning.

"It looks like an Irish day out there," he said, then added impishly, "It looks like an Irish summer's day out there!"

Harrington knows he will not see a neutral set-up in his lifetime, but while Stricker admitted that just three US wins in 10 Ryder Cups was a "concern" and conceded that he could do little to trick up Whistling Straits, he'd do his best to make Europe uncomfortable.

"It's not going to be 8 on the Stimpmeter like it was in Paris," the Wisconsin native promised. "It's not going to be as high rough as it was in Paris."

Hoping massive support will tip the balance his way, he said: "Hopefully that will deter from what it really looks like out there as far as an Irish setting."

Meanwhile, Seamus Power shot an eight-under 64 in a Monday qualifier for this week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open but lost out in a seven-man playoff for two spots.

At the First Stage of the European Tour Qualifying School Section D, Castleknock's David Carey opened with a six-under 66 to share fifth spot, two shots off the lead, at Bogogno Golf Resort in Italy.

But Paul McBride, Dermot McElroy, Niall Kearney, Jon Ross Galbraith and John Hickey failed to finish after a lightning delay at Frilford Heath.

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