Padraig Harrington can see both Scot Robert MacIntyre and Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez in his Ryder Cup team later this year.
The European team captain thinks Perez is “almost there” with the points he’s already accumulated and there is “no doubt” that it could be MacIntyre’s time in next six to eight months.
“I hope I set the points up, and I was very involved in this, to respect those players who have already played well,” said Harrington of the redraw of points necessary after pandemic lockdown.
Perez ‘almost there’
“So like Victor Perez, he’s almost there with his points. The work he’s done, when it was qualification period, that hasn’t been thrown away.
“Any player who isn’t in the reckoning right now, they just need to play well over the next eight months and they will make the team. There’s plenty of time for people to make the team.
“But on the other side, there’s a few players who have certainly broken the back of the work that needs to be done, just like Victor. He’s at a great place, on both tables based on his play from a year ago.”
‘He’s the kind of fella you want’
MacIntyre is “one of the future players of the European Tour”, continued Harrington, having played with the Scot in Abu Dhabi.
“It could be his time in the next eight, nine months, there’s no doubt about it,” said the Irishman.
“From a statistical point of view and from a personality point of view, he’s kind of a hearty fella, which you want.
“He’s a tough customer. He’s a fighter. He gets it done which very important when it comes to match play.
“We’ve already looked at the stats and he’s very, very balanced. He would work very well in different formats, foursomes, fourballs.”
MacIntyre needs to play his way on to the team, he added. But those attributes could make him an option even if he didn’t outright qualify.
“You won’t be picking a rookie in 16th or 17th (place on the rankings) or whatever,” added Harrington.
“But if he’s (close) he’s a player you would be very happy to have on the team. Not just on the way he plays golf but also on his personality.
“You could put him out anywhere in a match, and talking to him, he likes that. I won’t say he has a chip on his shoulder, but he fights like he has a bit of a point to prove.”
‘He’s there or thereabouts all the time’
Harrington has no fears about some of the big names being on his team, and is unconcerned that Rory McIlroy hasn’t won recently.
“Rory has been great in his career, but he has had periods where he’s just not winning,” he pointed out.
“The best period Rory has ever had of not winning is this at the moment. He’s there or thereabouts all the time.
“If you looked at this five years ago he could have been missing a few cuts on this run. Now he’s just contending.
Right, he’s not getting it across the line at the very end. But when he does, he’ll go on a run of winning six, seven, eight times in a year.”