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Padraig Harrington is willing to change his schedule and play events in Europe this summer if “genuinely in contention” for a shock Ryder Cup captain’s pick.
Harrington, 51, was in confident mood at the aptly named Renaissance Club after shooting rounds of 67 and 66 in the Genesis Scottish Open.
The Irishman was European captain in the humiliating 19-9 thrashing by the USA at Whistling Straights in the last biennial battle two years ago, but there are suddenly growing calls for him to feature in a playing capacity in Rome.
He has been in incredible form since starting on the PGA Tour’s Champions Tour circuit, winning five times in total, as well as making the cut in the last two majors.
And after competing in The Open at Royal Liverpool next week, he plans to sit down with Luke Donald to discuss the possibility of a wildcard that would make him the oldest Ryder Cup player ever.
“We’ll see more after these couple of weeks, but this is the best I’ve played these last two rounds, tee to green, in a long time,” Harrington told Sky Sports after his second round 66.
“I’ve been playing better, getting better and doing things better. The Champions Tour has got me focused better and I’ve started putting better.
“Now this week, with an eye on next week I was trying to get my head in the right place for next Thursday and I seem to have managed to do that a week early.
“So I’m in a nice place, I’ll see how I play over the next two weeks then have a chat with Luke and if necessary I’ll change my schedule and come back and play a few in Europe.
“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.”
The chances of Harrington creating history and returning to the European as a player seem scarce, but experience is valued in the showdown and Donald is likely to be selecting from a series of rookies with four of his six wildcard selections.
Donald appears to have a strong core of eight players – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Rose and Shane Lowry are likely to tee it up at the Marco Simone Course in September.
But Harrington has signalled his intent for an unlikely call-up and there will be plenty of intrigue in whether the three-time major champion can continue his impressive form on the East Lothian links before next week’s Open at Hoylake.
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