The European Ryder Cup captain likes the look of how is team is starting to come together
European Ryder Cup Team Shaping Up Nicely For Captain Harrington
European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington believes his team for September’s contest is starting to come together nicely, citing the scintillating form of Lee Westwood and the upturn in fortunes for Shane Lowry in particular.
The Irishman was speaking ahead of the Honda Classic, where he has won twice previously, and also touched upon the recent comments made by Rory McIlroy in relation to the ongoing distance debate.
But, with the major season just around the corner, the Ryder Cup is looming large for the three-time major winner and he is understandably delighted to see a golfer of Westwood’s experience and calibre playing so well.
“You know, these are the sort of things you want,” Harrington said.
“You’d love to have experienced guys who are playing well. You can’t just have an experienced guy for the sake of it.
“You want an experienced guy playing well, and it’s great to see Lee is playing well.
“I will look at my team and look at the balance and certainly you would probably ask him to do a little more than just play golf that week, but I’m looking at it and I seem to be getting a nice balance so far.”
Earlier, the Irishman highlighted a lack of leadership among the European players in 2008 as a factor in their defeat, so he’s clearly earmarked Westwood as a candidate to fulfil that role.
And should the 47-year-old go on to qualify automatically – he would be first in the team via the World Points list as it currently stands – it would also free up an all-important captain’s pick.
“Lee playing his way in, in some ways – it looks like he’s played his way in – frees up another spot for a pick, which would help some of the senior guys because I do have a number of senior players who are unlikely to make the team automatically.
“Everything about Lee playing well is a bonus for me.”
As well as Westwood, captain Harrington has been encouraged by the form of his countryman Shane Lowry. Although recent results don’t appear to represent those of a golfer on the rise, the 2019 Open champion has been held back by a cold putter of late but did pick up an eighth-place finish at last week’s Players Championship.
“I’ve been playing with Shane. Shane has been playing probably the best golf I’ve ever seen him play,” Harrington continued. “He hasn’t been putting very well.
“As I’ve said about a few players, I’m never unhappy to see a player playing well but not quite getting the results at this time of the year because I know they’re going to turn around.
“For Shane, I can see good form there, and when it does turn around, it’s going to be at the appropriate time of the year.
“It’s going to be coming into the majors, and then following up into the Ryder Cup.
“You know, looking from the outside, you just tell Shane just to let it happen. It’s obviously very easy to say that, not as easy to do as a player.
“But he is playing very well tee to green, and I am keeping an eye on him like I am all the other players who are there or thereabouts.”