Padraig Harrington hints at reducing captains’ picks

Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup Picks 1

He’s been in the post for little over a week but the new European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington is already contemplating shaking things up ahead of the 2020 match at Whistling Straits.

Speaking to the BBC’s golf correspondent Iain Carter on ‘The Cut’ podcast, the Irishman suggested that he might reduce the number of wild cards he has at his disposal.

His predecessor Thomas Bjorn gave himself four picks - the most of any European captain since picks were introduced in 1981. The move paid off handsomely, with his four additions – Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson – combining to deliver nine-and-a-half points out of a possible 14 at Le Golf National as Europe routed the USA 17½-10½.

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However, Harrington has admitted that he is toying with the idea of giving himself fewer picks and his logic is pretty sound.

“Picks are an interesting one and I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” he said. “I’m getting some stats done at the moment on whether to go with three or four.

Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup Picks 2

“The thing I’m thinking is does the ninth guy ever get skipped over? Has there ever been a time that somebody 13th or 14th on the list has been picked over the person in ninth? I don’t think that’s happened and I think players are more comfortable and more confident if they’ve qualified directly rather than getting a pick.

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“So, I’d prefer more players to qualify than have me pick them but I’ll have a look at the stats.”

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Harrington, who studied accountancy at university, added that he will be leaning heavily on what the stats have to say both in the build-up to and during the 2020 Ryder Cup.

If I have a decision to make where it’s either make it emotionally or based on the stats, I would go with the stats,” he said. “I will use that as a backing for my picks and I will use it for the partnerships for sure.”

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