European 2020 Ryder Cup captain wants showdown for picks
Bethpage (United States) (AFP)
Europe's 2020 Ryder Cup skipper Padraig Harrington wants candidates for his three captain's picks to undergo a showdown next year at Wentworth to prove they deserve his selection.
The 47-year-old Irishman is already sending messages to next year's candidates for the trophy holders that he wants passionate and devoted players in the lineup to face the United States at Whistling Straits.
"I would be on the side of making the players jump through a few more hoops to be in the Ryder Cup team," Harrington said on Tuesday ahead of the PGA Championship.
"It's a huge deal to play in the Ryder Cup team in terms of people's careers.
"I want to make sure that every player who's in my team will have to show commitment to wanting to be in the team.
Harrington asked to have three picks instead of four when he completes next year's lineup and delayed the naming date to the end of the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth just days ahead of the September 25-27 biennial matches against the Americans.
"I'm a believer in having players who prove that they have a commitment and want to be there in the Ryder Cup," Harrington said.
"Well, if you want a pick on my team, you're going to have to be at the BMW Championship. I'm not saying it's a guarantee but I want to see commitment and I'm a believer in that.
"If you want a pick, you're going to have to turn up and play a big tournament with the other players interested in that pick so I can make a definitive decision as late as a week before the tournament."
Harrington was pleased that fourth-ranked Rory McIlroy renewed his European Tour membership for next year, but said it wouldn't have kept him off the Ryder Cup squad.
"It is nice that he has taken membership to put it down on paper and make things a little simpler and less complicated," Harrington said.
"But for me it was never really an issue for the Ryder Cup. I know he will be there and giving it 100 percent when it comes to it next September.
"I know Rory loves it. You only have to see him during a Ryder Cup in the team room. It gives him an opportunity to play the leader's role in that team room."
- Ninth man gets boost -
Harrington said he trimmed the wildcards because he feels a player who qualifies performs better than a captain's pick and the ninth-placed player on points was probably going to be among his picks anyway.
"Players who qualify tend to be more confident and assured of their place in the team than players who are selected," Harrington said. "Having qualified and being selected over the years, I certainly felt that.
"The ninth player in the qualifying table would likely get a pick and I'm prepared to take a little bit more of a chance to let him qualify.
"When you qualify, you've qualified on merit, you deserve to be there, and it takes a little bit of the stress and pressure off."
And it leaves the Irishman three more picks to fill out lineups for foursomes and four-ball matches.
"The idea of the picks is pick three guys that will help the nine who qualify play well and be better players," he said.
"If you forced me down to two, I wouldn't have a problem with that, either. But you do need picks in that sense because you are trying to establish foursomes and four-ball partnerships with those picks. It's not about picking the next best player all the time."
? 2019 AFP