Harrington Will Change His Schedule To Improve Ryder Cup Chances

Padraig Harrington says he'll change his summer schedule and play in Europe if Luke Donald says he's genuinely in the mix for a Ryder Cup place

Padraig Harrington at the 2023 Scottish Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington says he’ll change his schedule and play some events in Europe this summer if he’s genuinely in contention for being in Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team.

The 51-year-old was Europe’s Ryder Cup captain last time out as Team USA earned a record 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits, but he could just be playing his way into the side to help avenge that loss himself in Rome.

The Irishman has been a different man since turning 50 and starting on the PGA Tour Champions circuit - already winning five times – and being sharpened up has also allowed him to compete well in the Majors.

And after shooting 67-66 at the Scottish Open, calls for Harrington to get a Ryder Cup wildcard will only increase – especially if he continues this form into the Open at Royal Liverpool.

Harrington was gearing up for the trip to Hoylake before planning to go back to America – but he’ll speak with Donald and if the skipper says he’s in the mix he’ll change his schedule to play some DP World Tour events in Europe to prove his worth.

“We’ll see more after these couple of weeks, but this is the best I’ve played these last two rounds, tee to green, in a long time,” Harrington told Sky Sports at The Renaissance Club.

“I’ve been playing better, getting better and doing things better. The Champions Tour has got me focused better and I’ve started putting better. 

“Now this week, with an eye on next week I was trying to get my head in the right place for next Thursday and I seem to have managed to do that a week early. 

“So I’m in a nice place, I’ll see how I play over the next two weeks then have a chat with Luke and if necessary I’ll change my schedule and come back and play a few in Europe.

Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup Legacy

Padraig Harrington was captain in the last Ryder Cup but could return as a player in 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“My intention was to go play some Champions Tour events but if I’m genuinely in contention then I’m prepared to make the effort and change my schedule and come back and prove it.”

Donald in all likelihood has eight of his team locked down with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry all expected to play.

The four remaining spots though look wide open with a host of rookies battling it out – so Donald may well consider the experience of a former captain and three-time Major champion as a welcome addition.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.