Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington will take “everything” from Catriona Matthew’s Solheim Cup victory for Whistling Straits next month – maybe even the winning speech.
The Irishman also said Colin Montgomerie’s 2010 captaincy was a gamechanger among the Ryder Cups he played as a player. He makes his own wildcard choices on Sunday night after the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
‘It definitely helps us’
“Momentum, inspiration, what’s not to take?” he said of the Monday’s Solheim Cup win in Ohio. “I was watching and I was thrilled how they did it.
“It definitely helps us. You want all the momentum you can get for us as the Ryder Cup team. They won fair and square. There was no luck involved. That’s the sort of momentum what we would be looking to.
“There was a few things that you looked at in the practical sense. Obviously there was a dominant US crowd compared to our side. There’s a few things that we will talk about and adjust and certainly learn from.
“I tried to learn as much as I could, even copying a few things from Catriona’s speech!”
Harrington was particularly proud of his countrywomen Leona Maguire, whose record performance as a rookie was “great for Ireland, great for Irish sport.”
Six possible wildcards in his thinking
But now he’s focusing on his own decisions at the end of the last qualifying event for his Ryder cup team.
“There’s certainly six (players) as it sits at the moment, but there’s a few that could really push their position,” he said.
“There’s players who don’t need to qualify fully (but) to have a good week this week. I suppose they put themselves out there by playing well this week under pressure.
“It’s lot of scenarios, not just the finishing position here and not just whether they get into the team. A lot of it is to do with how the picks balance up the nine players in the team.”
He and his vice-captains – Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell – had “very much covered” partnerships in foursomes and fourballs.
“It’s not about picking the 10th, 11th and 12th best players on the rankings,” he said. “It’s about picking three players who complement the nine guys who qualify, and who match up well and bring balance to the team where it’s needed.”
Monty’s influence in 2010 impressed Padraig
Having played with so many captains, Harrington paid tribute to his two predecessors Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn, whose “incredibly detailed” approach changed the role, he believes.
“Being a Ryder Cup Captain after their legacy is nothing like being a captain before,” he said. “It’s a full-time job now.”
But he had special admiration for Montogomerie’s role in 2010.
“I think Monty was the first one who made his team believe they were better than the US team,” he continued. “He came in and said, we decided that. We are going to do this because we are better than them, 12 against 12.
“That was impressive. Monty took all of the good of the past, put it together and left nothing. He got rid of whatever wasn’t working.
“I think that was really a very important one. So that would be certainly one to mirror.”