Home Sports Ryder Cup watch at The Open: Can Padraig Harrington boost hopes for historic pick for Team Europe? | Golf News

Ryder Cup watch at The Open: Can Padraig Harrington boost hopes for historic pick for Team Europe? | Golf News

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Ryder Cup watch at The Open: Can Padraig Harrington boost hopes for historic pick for Team Europe? | Golf News

Two-time Open winner Padraig Harrington sits 60th on the European Points List and 44th on the World Points List as he aims to become the oldest player in Ryder Cup history; Harrington looking to earn more qualification points at The 151st Open, live from Thursday on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 17/07/23 1:25pm

Legendary golf coach Pete Cowen claims 51-year-old Padraig Harrington deserves a spot in the European team ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome and reveals increased power has helped him improve his game recently

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Legendary golf coach Pete Cowen claims 51-year-old Padraig Harrington deserves a spot in the European team ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome and reveals increased power has helped him improve his game recently

Legendary golf coach Pete Cowen claims 51-year-old Padraig Harrington deserves a spot in the European team ahead of the Ryder Cup in Rome and reveals increased power has helped him improve his game recently

Time is running out for players to force their way into Ryder Cup consideration, but could a former captain be an option as a captain’s pick for Team Europe in Rome?

The qualification campaign for Luke Donald’s team runs until the start of September, when the three leading players on the European Points List and the next three on the World Points List will be joined by six captain’s picks.

Several of Europe’s last Ryder Cup team will be unable to compete this time around after switching to LIV Golf, while Padraig Harrington – who was captain for the 2021 loss at Whistling Straits – remaining hopeful of forcing his way into Donald’s plans.

Jon Rahm believes Sergio Garcia should be allowed to play at the Ryder Cup and feels politics are getting in the way of a great event

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Jon Rahm believes Sergio Garcia should be allowed to play at the Ryder Cup and feels politics are getting in the way of a great event

Jon Rahm believes Sergio Garcia should be allowed to play at the Ryder Cup and feels politics are getting in the way of a great event

Harrington is without a DP World Tour victory since 2016 but has won five times in 13 months on the PGA Tour Champions, where he has posted top-seven finishes in six of his eight starts, with the former major looking to impress again in The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool.

The 51-year-old would become the oldest player in Ryder Cup history should be make a seventh appearance for Team Europe at Marco Simone Golf Club, with former team-mate Darren Clarke and major-winning coach Pete Cowen both backing him to be selected.

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“I would pick him, definitely,” Cowen said on the R&A’s On the Range show. “The way he’s playing and his experience. He’ll be great in the team room and you can rely on him under pressure

“He’s playing great, so he definitely would be in my team.”

Cowen’s views were echoed by Clarke, who told Sky Sports News: “There’s competition there for spots, but the way Harrington’s been playing with us out in on the Champions Tour, he’s hitting the ball further now than he’s ever hit the ball.

Could Padraig Harrington feature for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup this September?

Could Padraig Harrington feature for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup this September?

“His game is so solid to the green. He’s playing wonderfully well so that’s a good position for Luke (Donald) to have choices of guys playing well, so if he were to pick Padraig (Harrington) I wouldn’t be surprised.”

Harrington open to schedule change to boost hopes

Harrington finished fourth at the season-opening Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and posted a top 10 on the PGA Tour in April at the Valero Texas Open, with the Irishman also performing well at the US Open and impressing at the Genesis Scottish Open before fading over the weekend.

Padraig Harrington made six consecutive appearances for Team Europe between 1999 and 2010

Padraig Harrington made six consecutive appearances for Team Europe between 1999 and 2010

The three-time major winner had intended to play on the PGA Tour Champions over the summer, although would be open to playing more on the DP World Tour if it will enhance his chances of a first Ryder Cup appearance since 2010.

“I’ve been playing better, getting better and doing things better, Harrington told Sky Sports on Friday. “The Champions Tour has got me focused better and I’ve started putting better.

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

Rory McIlroy will be a key part of Luke Donald's Ryder Cup team in Rome

Rory McIlroy will be a key part of Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team in Rome

“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.”

Team Europe as it stands

Rory McIlroy extended his advantage at the top of the European Points List with his stunning victory at the Genesis Scottish Open on Sunday, where he birdied his final two holes to claim a second successive Rolex Series title.

Highlights from a dramatic final round as Rory McIlroy secured a dramatic victory over Robert MacIntyre at the Scottish Open

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Highlights from a dramatic final round as Rory McIlroy secured a dramatic victory over Robert MacIntyre at the Scottish Open

Highlights from a dramatic final round as Rory McIlroy secured a dramatic victory over Robert MacIntyre at the Scottish Open

McIlroy leads Jon Rahm on that list and closed the gap on the Spaniard on the World Points List, while Robert MacIntyre moved above Yannik Paul and Adrian Meronk into the automatic qualification spots with his runner-up finish at the Renaissance Club.

Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick hold the other automatic spots as things stand, while Tommy Fleetwood, Victor Perez and Shane Lowry are lurking close behind with just a handful of qualification events remaining.

Which LIV players could feature for Team USA?

The majors are the only opportunity for LIV players from America to earn Ryder Cup qualification points, meaning this week’s event is the last chance to impress and force them into Zach Johnson’s plans for Team USA.

US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said at May's PGA Championship he was unsure whether he'll be picking players from LIV Golf for this year's event

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US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said at May’s PGA Championship he was unsure whether he’ll be picking players from LIV Golf for this year’s event

US Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson said at May’s PGA Championship he was unsure whether he’ll be picking players from LIV Golf for this year’s event

Koepka is well-placed to qualify automatically after following his runner-up finish at The Masters by winning the PGA Championship this year, while a strong performance this week could mathematically secure him a spot for Team USA.

DeChambeau posted a top-four finish during Koepka’s win at Oak Hill and finished runner-up in last month’s LIV event at Valderrama, where Gooch strengthened his claim for a captain’s pick by registering a third victory of the season.

Rory McIlroy says Brooks Koepka deserves to be on the United States team for the Ryder Cup but his feelings are different for the European players on the LIV tour

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Rory McIlroy says Brooks Koepka deserves to be on the United States team for the Ryder Cup but his feelings are different for the European players on the LIV tour

Rory McIlroy says Brooks Koepka deserves to be on the United States team for the Ryder Cup but his feelings are different for the European players on the LIV tour

Johnson – who won all five of his matches in Team USA’s record-breaking Ryder Cup win in 2021 – arrives with top-10 finishes in his last three worldwide starts, while Reed was only one stroke back during the latest LIV Golf League event in London earlier this month.

If any of the American contingent were crowned Champion Golfer of the Year this week, it would be difficult for Johnson not to include them among his six captain’s picks when he finalises his team at the end of August.

Watch The 151st Open throughout the week exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the opening round begins on Thursday July 20 from 6.30am on Sky Sports Golf.

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