The Ryder Cup gets under way this weekend at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin with Padraig Harrington captaining team Europe and Steve Stricker leading the American’s. Padraig Harrington the three time Major winner will be hoping to replicate his fellow Dubliner Paul McGinely by lifting the Ryder Cup trophy come Sunday evening this time however on American soil.
The U.S. Team is composed of six automatic qualifiers and six captain’s picks. For Team Europe, nine golfers automatically qualified with three captain’s picks to fill out the squad.
The Ryder Cup is unlike any other event on the men’s golfing calendar, and it’s certainly true that the best golfers don’t always make the best Ryder Cup players.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will go down as two of the greatest to ever play the game, but both have lost more Ryder Cup matches than they’ve won.
What remains unclear, however, is to what extent great Ryder Cup players make great captains.
Having the confidence to hole a match-winning putt under pressure doesn’t necessarily mean someone will be able to inspire others to do the same.
Padraig Harrington had some big calls to make when picking his team and one that certainly raised a lot of eyebrows was Harrington picking his fellow Irish man Shane Lowry over English man Justin Rose. That is a call that will be used against him if it goes wrong this weekend. That’s the joys of being captain having to make the big calls and put loyalties aside.
Golf fans all over the world and even non golf fans will be tuning in for a tournament that gets everyones full attention. There have been some great captains in the past, ones that come to the forefront are Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley and Colin Montgomerie from team Europe. All winning captains that obviously hit the right note when leading their sides, surely Harrington had a few conversations with his fellow Irish man McGinley before the weekend’s action.
It’s currently 26 wins for Team America and 16 for Team Europe, Harrington will be hoping to add another one for Team Europe this weekend and to catch up on the Americans and their massive tally. The 50 year old has also promised to follow the example of predecessor Thomas Bjorn and get a tattoo if his team win at Whistling Straits this week.
Three years ago in Paris, Bjorn pledged to his players he would get a tattoo if they beat the United States, which they comfortably did by seven points. Surely Harrington will stay true to his word if Team Europe deliver. We can’t wait for it to get going.