European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington will run the rule over prospective Ryder Cup star Viktor Hovland in the BMW PGA Championship this week.
The three-time major champion confirmed that Hovland has joined the European Tour as an affiliate member, thus making himself eligible to collect both points this week and world ranking points, in order to make a shock Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits next year.
Harrington has named Sweden’s Robert Karlsson as his first vice-captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup, partially as a ‘bridge’ to young Scandinavian players and his excellent contribution in Paris last year.
Now, the Irishman has started his search for Team Europe by asking to be paired with the 22-year-old Norwegian for the opening two rounds at Wentworth.
“Viktor is on the list and this is the first opportunity for that to happen [play together] and that’s why it’s happened this week,” said Harrington.
“I wouldn’t want to miss out on playing with him, but he’s a name among maybe 20 names that we have chosen that we want to get out there and build those relationships with.
“He really does look like a fine player, his play has been phenomenal."
Having earlier announced that Karlsson would be serving as vice-captain for the second year running, Harrington said he didn’t need too much time to think about that particular decision.
“Anybody who was involved in 2018 would see this as a no-brainer pick,” Harrington said.
“Robert is really good at his job, he’s very logical, very straight and doesn’t let the emotions get involved, he is just a brilliant vice-captain.”
Karlsson said: “It’s fantastic, it almost feels like the other Ryder Cup just a year ago. We just finished it but now we start again.
“I’m really, really looking forward to this process and being able to be part of the team again, and help Padraig along the way.”