Monday 21 October 2019

'It is not going to happen in my lifetime' - Harrington says Europe and US a long way off 'neutral' Ryder Cups

United States captain Steve Stricker (l) and European captain Pádraig Harrington pose with the Ryder Cup during the Ryder Cup 2020 Year to Go media event at Whistling Straits Golf Course on October 1, 2019. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
United States captain Steve Stricker (l) and European captain Pádraig Harrington pose with the Ryder Cup during the Ryder Cup 2020 Year to Go media event at Whistling Straits Golf Course on October 1, 2019. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington could see the tournament being based on a "neutral set-up" in the future.

Harrington was at Whistling Straits on Tuesday to join United States captain Steve Stricker in marking one year to go to the 2020 showpiece event in Haven, Wisconsin.

Rory McIlroy has called for tougher European Tour courses, which the Co Down native believes are necessary to produce better players and so help improve Europe's Ryder Cup chances.

Harrington will be out to guide Europe to a successful defence of the Ryder Cup following the 17-and-a-half to 10-and-a-half victory at Le Golf National in Paris last year.

The Dubliner, twice winner of the Open, told a press conference: "Clearly in Europe, we get to set the golf course up, and we set it up in every way we can to suit our players, and in the (United) States, we have seen that as well, where it is set up to be the most advantageous for the home team.

"It is not going to happen probably in my lifetime, but 40 or 50 years down the road with the Ryder Cup still going along, it would probably be best to have a neutral set-up...

"Thankfully here at Whistling Straits this is a much more natural golf course and I am interested to see what Steve has in store, but it does not look like he can do a lot with this golf course... this is one which is going to test the players on its own merits."

USA captain Stricker insisted there would be "no real tricks" in 2020, when his team will be out to make the most of home advantage having been out-played in Paris as Europe regained the Ryder Cup.

"There is no real tricks. They know how we like to set up the golf courses, just as we know how they like to set up," Stricker said.

"I am sure what he (Harrington) has got envisaged in his mind is going to be the way it is going to be.

"When we go (to Europe) next time (in Rome 2022), I am sure it will be much like Paris.

"Here, it is not going to be eight on the Stimpmeter, like it was in Paris, it is not going to be as high a rough as it was in Paris, but it is a bit more of a challenge here - it is a links-style course, although a lot of it is still played through the air here."

 

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