team europe vice captains
Padraig Harrington with Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke
team europe vice captains

Europe

Harrington putting faith in youth at Hazeltine

Ryder Cup vice captain Padraig Harrington believes the number of rookies in the European team could energise Darren Clarke’s men against their more experienced American opponents.

The three-time Major winner, who is in action at the Porsche European Open this week before heading to Hazeltine National, made his Ryder Cup debut in 1999 amidst a fervent atmosphere at The Country Club in Brookline.

With six players set to make their first Ryder Cup appearances in Minnesota next week, Harrington feels such a scenario could work in Europe’s favour as they look to clinch a fourth consecutive title.

“Having rookies brings adrenalin and excitement to the team,” said the Irishman. “As we’ve seen with the European team in the past, if you manage them right they’ll play ever so well and actually play the best they’ve ever played and make all the difference.

“I’ve seen that myself, where rookies believe so much in the veterans that they settle down nicely and play great golf, so that’ll be an interesting dynamic in our team.”

Harrington revealed that despite constant conversation between the vice captains and Clarke, no partnerships have been set in stone.

The 45 year old said a number of different factors need to be considered before anything can be finalised.

“We’re talking about partnerships, foursomes, fourballs, who can play with who and who wants to play with who,” he said.

“A lot depends on who settles nicely in the practice rounds. You also have to consider that plenty of golfers don’t show well in practice, but when they go off on Friday morning they’ll be right there.

“There’s a lot of different things to be taking into consideration. There’s nothing guaranteed at this stage and the partnerships are not set. There’s plenty of room for manoeuvre and that’s a good thing.”