Sunday 19 May 2019

US Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker will not copy Padraig Harrington's decision to reduce wild card picks

Steve Stricker of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 15, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Steve Stricker of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference during a practice round prior to the 2019 PGA Championship at the Bethpage Black course on May 15, 2019 in Farmingdale, New York. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

United States Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker has no intention of following opposite number Padraig Harrington and changing his number of wild cards.

Harrington has opted to reduce the number of wild cards at his disposal from four to three for next year's contest at Whistling Straits in Stricker's home state of Wisconsin.

However, Stricker will stick with four wild cards and eight automatic qualifiers as his side look to avenge the heavy defeat suffered at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

"We haven't thought to change that at all," Stricker told a press conference ahead of the US PGA Championship. "I think our process that we've gone through over the years has worked.

"I'm comfortable with having the four picks. I think it gives us a lot of flexibility on guys in that nine to 15 to 20 range (in the qualifying standings) and who's playing well."

One player unlikely to need a wild card is Stricker's close friend Tiger Woods, who tops the early Ryder Cup rankings after claiming his 15th major title in the Masters last month.

Stricker described that situation as a "pleasant surprise" even though he always felt that the 43-year-old could recover from career-threatening injuries and off-course problems to win another major title.

"I think the reason I was a believer is because I had personal experience of playing poorly for a period three times and came out of that playing better than I ever had in my career," added Stricker, who won the first major of the Seniors Tour season on Sunday.

"I believed that anything was possible. I believed that he could win a major again. Until he does it you're always wondering if it's possible, but I believed that he could do it.

"I just see the progression in his game, even from when he won (the Tour Championship) in Atlanta.

"It looks like he's more comfortable with his game and with himself out there. He hit some really clutch shots when he had to (at Augusta) and I think that's what I was most impressed with."

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