Padraig Harrington believes Ryder Cup could head towards ‘neutral set-up’ courses

Padraig Harrington believes Ryder Cup could head towards ‘neutral set-up’ courses

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington could see the tournament evolving into one being based on a “neutral set-up” in the future.

Harrington was at Whistling Straits on Tuesday to join United States captain Steve Stricker in marking one year to go to the 2020 showpiece event in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Rory McIlroy has called for tougher European Tour courses, which he believes are necessary to produce better players and so help improve Europe’s Ryder Cup chances.

Harrington will be out to guide Europe to a successful defence of the Ryder Cup following the 17-and-a-half to 10-and-a-half victory at Le Golf National in Paris last year.

The Dubliner, twice winner of the Open, told a press conference: “There is a substantial difference, I would advocate even too much of a difference, between home and away.

“Clearly in Europe, we get to set the golf course up, and we set it up in every way we can to suit our players, and in the (United) States, we have seen that as well, where it is set up to be the most advantageous for the home team.

“It is not going to happen probably in my lifetime, but 40 or 50 years down the road with the Ryder Cup still going along, it would probably be best to have a neutral set-up where there is no setting up a golf course as we did in Europe (last time) so that it was very tight off the tee and it made it a real difficult, where par was a good score.

“Whereas, if you went back to Hazeltine (in 2016), it was more of a birdie-fest where the statisticians get involved and tell us what suits each team.

“Thankfully here at Whistling Straits this is a much more natural golf course and I am interested to see what Steve has in store, but it does not look like you can do a lot with this golf course.

“Even the weather could be very changeable the week of the Ryder Cup next year. So in many ways, this is a golf course that is just going to test the players on its own merits.”

USA captain Stricker insisted there would be “no real tricks” in 2020, when his team will be out to make the most of home advantage any way they can.

“They know how we like to set up the golf courses, just as we know how they like to set up,” Stricker said.

“I am sure what he (Harrington) has got envisaged in his mind is going to be the way it is going to be.

“When we go (to Europe) next time (in Rome 2022), I am sure it will be much like Paris.

“There is real tricks here. It is not going to be eight on the Stimpmeter, like it was in Paris, it is not going to be as high a rough as it was in Paris.

“But it is a bit more of a challenge here. It is a links-style course, although a lot of it is still played through the air than it is overseas.”

Harrington is hoping to bring his own leadership style to the squad, having been one of the vice-captains under Thomas Bjorn in Paris.

“When you become a vice captain, you start seeing a lot more and obviously because of that, you start learning a lot more the demands of the players and how to fit them together and manage all the different personalities in a team,” the 48-year-old said.

“There are so many styles of captaincy. You do see that. I don’t believe I’m going to be one or the other. I’ll hopefully be a mixture of most.

“But then as vice captain you tend to learn a lot about the tactics that go in behind that, and it is difficult.”

Team Europe were impressive as they reclaimed the Ryder Cup in Paris. (David Davies/PA)
Team Europe were impressive as they reclaimed the Ryder Cup in Paris. (David Davies/PA)

Stricker is confident the USA can redress the balance after coming up so short in Paris.

“For me, it’s about moving forward, learning from the past a little bit, taking some of the things that we haven’t done so well in,” he said.

“Then trying to apply that next year – and it is about playing better.”

- Press Association

More on this topic

Harrington to run rule over Ryder Cup prospect Hovland at WentworthHarrington to run rule over Ryder Cup prospect Hovland at Wentworth

Robert Karlsson named as one of Europe’s vice-captains for 2020 Ryder CupRobert Karlsson named as one of Europe’s vice-captains for 2020 Ryder Cup

JP’s dream becomes a realityJP’s dream becomes a reality

Ryder Cup at Adare was only a matter of timeRyder Cup at Adare was only a matter of time

More in this Section

Boxer Patrick Day dies of head injuries sustained in fightBoxer Patrick Day dies of head injuries sustained in fight

Schmidt backs O’Mahony to deliver under pressure of World Cup quarter-finalSchmidt backs O’Mahony to deliver under pressure of World Cup quarter-final

#RWC2019 Quarter-finals: Match previews and team stats#RWC2019 Quarter-finals: Match previews and team stats

England drop Ford, name Farrell at fly-half for Australia quarter-finalEngland drop Ford, name Farrell at fly-half for Australia quarter-final


Lifestyle

Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner