Padraig Harrington said he had to check with his vice-captains to ensure he wasn’t being biased in picking his close friend Shane Lowry as a wildcard for Whistling Straits.
The team had been “the elephant in the room” for two and a half years between the pair, he said.
“Everybody says, you’re going to pick Shane, and if anything that pushed it away from me,” he said. “I’m terrible like that. It actually made it harder for Shane to get in the team.
“But his consistency, his form has been tremendous. He really pushed on during the latter half of the season.
‘This was the right thing to do’
🗣 "I'm just incredibly proud of what I have achieved. But there's no point going over there to make up the numbers. I want to win points and help bring the cup back."
Shane Lowry will make his Ryder Cup debut later this month for Team Europe! pic.twitter.com/U48zrACPFl
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 12, 2021
“I had to keep checking with the vice captains. You know, I’m not biased here. Don’t let me be distracted here because Shane is my friend.
“The pick was a big thrill of mine in that he is a friend of mine but it gave me all the confidence in the world that this was the right thing to do.
“I believe he’s going to do a good job. He brings great passion. He fits very well into the team and it’s great to have a few rookies in the team.”
While Justin Rose was “right on the bubble”, said Harrington, ultimately there wasn’t a spot for him.
“It was difficult to have to ring him,” he said. “He played well enough to be on the team. Clearly he’s good enough to be in The Ryder Cup. Clearly he’s a great player, showing some form right now.
“Certainly I had my heart set on Ian (Poulter) and Sergio (Garcia) being the hearts and the soul of the team.
“Bernd Weisberger, he delivered. He played his way into the team under pressure this week. Exactly what a captain wants to see, and it ultimately left no spot.”
Harrington could have had eight picks
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Harrington revealed that during the Covid delay of a year, he was offered the chance to have as many as eight wildcard picks, but declined.
“I was offered eight picks because we were thinking about no golf for six months into The Ryder Cup,” he said. “You might have 20 people who might have a chance. That’s 730,000 combinations of teams you can make up out of that.
“(Three) was tough enough. I wouldn’t have skipped past Bernd Weisberger. He played great and he delivered under pressure. If I had four picks, Bernd would have been a pick, anyway.
“I’m sure Steve (Stricker) was happy with his six picks. But I’m not focused on what he’s doing. Much more focused on trying to build the best team I can for Europe.
“My choice was three picks instead of eight or six. I’m very comfortable that that was the right decision.”