In retrospect, it’s 20-20, and while Pádraig Harrington flew enthusiastically to Florida yesterday to play his first two Champions Tour events, he happily left the post-Ryder Cup debate after Europe’s record defeat at 19-9.
His first tweet after returning from Whistling Straits was a putting tip that was pure accident and not a subtle reflection on what was happening in Wisconsin, where he admitted that Europe was “beaten up” by the Americans, not on the greens, but in strokes from the tee.
Harrington knew his captaincy would be challenged if he lost, but he compares the autopsies to his opinion on football.
“I’ll have an opinion, but of course, I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and I don’t have all the information,” said the Dubliner, 50, who will play in Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS this week in Jacksonville and the SAS championship next week in North Carolina.
“My argument seems very plausible when you have half the story but not the whole story. It’s disappointing to lose, but everyone on the team has done everything possible. I urge everyone to find something that is not perfect have been done.” – and I mean perfect – for the week.”
The fact that two pairs of four were changed because one player was not enjoying putting another’s ball was not due to a lack of preparation, but was part of a Ryder Cup.
“For the 12 players, there are probably almost eight balls in play, so you will always end up with guys playing different golf balls,” said Harrington of his decision to split up and pair Lee Westwood and Paul Casey with Matthew Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland in the Friday foursome.
“We would have looked at golf ball problems if we brought people together, but wow, many times you’re damned if you do or damned if you don’t. Some people will look at this and say that you are trying too hard.
“The same four players just switched partners, but it wasn’t a drama and when I heard the story I thought, ‘Wow, you’re really making a mountain out of a molehill’.
“There was zero drama. It hasn’t changed much where we’re going. The same four players were still eliminated in the foursome on Friday.”
Statistics showed that the US drove the ball an average of four yards farther and hit one percent more fairways, but only marginally shady approach games and putting.
“That was an eye opener,” he said. “And yet they beat us with blows from the tee. That only shows how tight the margins were.”
As for the qualification system, Harrington doesn’t think four picks would have been better.
“Show me the system that skips the ninth player,” he challenged. “The US didn’t skip the ninth player and had six picks. But that’s in the nature of things. If you lose, you will be questioned.”
As for his Champions Tour adventure, Harrington reserves the right to judge until he has played a few events. But his plan is still to base his 2022 season on the Masters, PGA and The Open and see how the Senior Majors fit into a schedule based on the European Tour and occasional PGA Tour appearances.
With the Champions Tour’s heavy emphasis on wedge games and the two weakest areas of his game, Harrington wonders if fighting for the seniors’ wins can help boost the confidence of the regular majors.
“It is still possible to win a major out of the blue, but I just need to raise my overall overall standard to give myself more chances of winning one out of the blue so it doesn’t happen out of the blue if it does . ” “Said Harrington, who finished fourth behind Phil Mickelson in the PGA Championship. “So it will be interesting to see what the Champions Tour looks like.
“I see Bernhard Langer every year at the PNC, and by God, he would take your eye out of your head with his wedge game. It’s amazing how good they are from 120-140 yards and that’s obviously a big part of being on the Champions Tour.
“If the pins are lighter and the greens are softer, it doesn’t help in my opinion, but if I can get myself into the race it definitely helps.
“There is no substitute for being under pressure to get your game in shape.”