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Tony Jacklin has hit out at Padraig Harrington and his European team for the balls fiasco that impacted the side’s Ryder Cup preparations at Whistling Straits last month.

As first reported by The Telegraph, European skipper Harrington has admitted that he was forced into a late change to two of his intended partnerships for the Friday morning foursomes matches.

His plan to put Lee Westwood out with Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey out with Matt Fitzpatrick had to be changed less than 48 hours before the first session at Whistling Straits after one of the players reported that he found one of the balls a bit ‘clicky’ on the greens.

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In the end, the European captain sent Westwood out with Fitzpatrick and Hovland with Casey in the opening morning’s foursomes, which Europe lost 3-1, setting the tone for a record-breaking 19-9 defeat.

Appearing on the No Laying Up podcast in the aftermath of the defeat, Harrington attempted to play down the significance of the issue, implying that it had been blown out of proportion.

However, speaking to bunkered.co.uk, four-time European captain Jacklin insisted that such a scenario should never have been allowed to unfold.

“Padraig had his teams sorted for the first round and, on the pretext that they didn’t play the same ball, he broke up the partnerships,” observed the two-time major champion, whose new book, The Ryder Cup and Me is out now.

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“Give me a break! What’s more important? Do you think that didn’t happen when I was captain? There are no bad balls. There are no bad golf clubs anymore. Get on with it. It’s far more important that the personalities of the players gel than what bloody ball they’re playing.

“To let a thing like that happen, I mean — I didn’t have such issues, nor did I have five vice-captains in my ear. It’s indicative of maybe too many cooks, too many opinions.”


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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