Captain Harrington's Blog: July
Hi everyone and welcome to the latest of my monthly Blogs in the build-up to the Ryder Cup in Whistling Straits, the start of which is now less than 60 days away!
I want to begin this month by offering my congratulations to Collin Morikawa on a great performance to win The Open Championship at Royal St George’s. Collin is a really nice guy and I was delighted for him, whilst acknowledging he will be a formidable opponent for Team Europe in Wisconsin in September. For a while it looked like Jon Rahm might come with a final day charge to add the Claret Jug to the U.S. Open trophy he won last month but it wasn’t to be. A share of third place showed his game remains in good shape though which was great to see, as was Robert MacIntyre continuing to impress with his tie for eighth. To see how those performances and others over the past month affected the current qualification tables, click here. One name you won’t see on there is my fellow Irishman Seamus Power who is not a European Tour member. Regardless of that, I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate the man from Waterford on an excellent month on the PGA TOUR, winning the Barbasol Championship in a play-off as well as notching top ten finishes in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the John Deere Classic. As for myself at Royal St George’s, I had an interesting week, played all four rounds but didn’t end up with the week I wanted overall. There were good signs however, especially during my second round 68, and my game is in good shape as I look forward to getting back out on the course.
My next two weeks of golfing action will be back in the US when I play in next week’s Barracuda Championship in California and then the following week’s Wyndham Championship in North Carolina. Before that, however, and indeed as you read this, I will be at Whistling Straits itself having a look at how the build is going for the match and how all the areas that will be utilised and occupied by Team Europe during the week are coming along. It is a massive undertaking getting a golf course ready to host a major event such as the Ryder Cup and I know all our Ryder Cup Europe staff back at Wentworth have been working incredibly hard and liaising with the PGA of America to ensure everything is just as it should be for everyone involved, but especially for the players and caddies. On behalf of them, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our staff very much for their endeavours and I look forward to seeing how everything is shaping up.
Although I have been immersed in all things Ryder Cup since my appointment as Captain way back in January 2019, you can feel everyone’s excitement levels building for the match these days, especially since the season’s final Major is now behind us. There are several signposts that the contest is almost upon us and one of those is the Ryder Cup Countdown Series. The five-programme series, produced by European Tour Productions, will run across the final build-up to Whistling Straits with the first episode due to air next Tuesday, August 3. That episode centres around myself as Captain with a review of my journey to date, in addition to interviews with friends and family who know me best. To get a flavour of what the show is all about, watch the video below for a short preview. The show will be aired on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland but also has a potential reach of over 40 countries across Europe.
Junior Ryder Cup
One disappointing bit of news recently announced was that, in conjunction with the PGA of America, we have had to cancel this year’s Junior Ryder Cup match due to ongoing travel issues for our European Junior Ryder Cup party and their families. The match was scheduled to take place at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, from September 20-21. It is a great match and has seen players such as Sergio and Rory come through to play in the actual Ryder Cup for Europe while the same applies for Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas on the US side. I feel sorry for our JRC Captain Paul Lawrie who, together with his selection committee, had put in a lot of work in challenging circumstances, while I also sympathise with the youngsters who were gearing up to represent Team Europe. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the match – which was first played in 1997 – will return in Italy in 2023.
Going for gold...
On a more positive note, I was delighted to see the Olympic golf event get underway yesterday and here’s hoping Europe can crown another gold and silver medal double like we did in Rio in 2016 with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. Even though the Games in Tokyo have had their own challenges, it really is a special event in the world of sport as I found out first hand when I represented Ireland in Rio in 2016. Furthermore, being able to say I am an Olympian is something truly special and often resonates more with people in certain countries I visit, which might not be that well versed in our sport, than the fact I am a three-time Major champion. Good luck to everyone involved in the men’s event this week and the women’s event next week.
Happy Birthday Wilson...!
Finally, as you might have seen on my Twitter feed the other day, our dog Wilson has just turned two years old! It is hard to believe the time has gone so fast but he is most definitely a fully-fledged member of the Harrington household now and, as you will see if you tune into episode one of the Countdown Series, also a faithful caddie replacement for Ronan when I’m practicing at home, even though he does have a tendency to chew the holes in my putting green. I’m pretty certain I’ve never seen Ronan do that!
Speak to you all again next month………….