Smyth wants Ryder Cup ‘wildcard’ for Harrington

Des Smyth believes Pádraig Harrington can consider himself ‘unlucky’ if not afforded a ‘wildcard’ pick for next month’s Ryder Cup at Medinah.

Smyth, who played 1979 and 1981 Ryder Cup, believes also a then out of form Harrington was ‘lucky’ to compete in the last Ryder Cup after getting a ‘wildcard’ from Colin Montgomerie.

It’s almost certain that unless Harrington excels in next week’s Barclays Championship in New York, and the final PGA Tour qualifying event for European-born players, then the triple Major champion will have to rely on a ‘wildcard’ pick. And his plight was not helped given Jose Maria Olazabal’s ice cold assessment last week at Kiawah Island of Harrington’s game.

Smyth added: “Pádraig was lucky two years ago to get picked by Monty but he will be unlucky this time if he was not picked. So I can’t see him being picked and he could count himself unlucky because his form is improving and he’s starting to turn it around.

“But then if he’s not picked Pádraig will accept that and take it on the chin. The thing is also you can’t be picking guys just because they won Major Championships some years ago. You have to pick current form and that’s the key to any team. If I was Jose Maria I would rather be picking a player who is on form as he is always going to give you a few holes.

Smyth is among four Irish teeing-up in today’s Scottish Seniors event on the Torrance course at St. Andrews Bay. And before heading out to contest yesterday’s Pro-Am he spoke in glowing terms of Rory McIlroy and comparing him with Tiger Woods.

“It’s just been sensational for Ireland the last few years starting with Pádraig and then Graeme, Rory, Darrren and now Rory, again,” said McIlroy.

“But the great aspect about Rory is that when he plays well, he plays like the best ranked player in the world.

“I don’t think Rory will be a Tiger Woods in the sense that every time he tees up Woods’ is expected to win because I have the feeling with Rory is that he plays just to enjoy it.

“Then when he starts coming into Majors it’s when you’ll see Rory coming into his own.

“Jack Nicklaus and all the great players were like that whereas Tiger just dominated golf for the period he did, and that was his style just like it was Seve’s.


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