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Ryder Cup 2021: Padraig Harrington keeping the tattoo tradition as Europe try to colourfully charm the locals

Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry with the Ryder Cup.
Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry with the Ryder Cup.

Padraig Harrington is relieved that a tattoo is all he had to promise as incentive for his European team to win the Ryder Cup – he’d have sacrificed much more.

Thomas Bjorn set the tradition by having the score in Paris in 2018 tattooed on his buttock, and Harrington has agreed the same if Europe win at Whistling Straits.

‘Where on the body? Depends how long it is’

“I am delighted that that’s all they asked for, I’d have given up a lot more,” he said. “So yes, if my team produce a winning week, I will be getting a tattoo to mark the occasion.

“I think it’s an unwritten rule now, so it has come up in conversation. It’s a given now in Europe, the captain has to get a tattoo.

“And I don’t have any other tattoos at this stage, so it would be a new experience for me. Where on the body? I don’t know. Depends how long it is!”

Europe were in festive mood again yesterday, wearing the “cheese-heads” and green and gold colours favoured by Wisconsin’s pride, the Green Bay Packers NFL team.

‘Why don’t we do something with Wisconsin’

“They were talking about maybe bringing some Irish green for me, but I’m not really into that sort of stuff,” said Harrington. “So I said why don’t we do something with Wisconsin.

“It’s lighthearted. You want it that way in practice. It’s somewhat respectful obviously of the Packers, and they were very much on board with this. So a bit of fun and we got a nice reception with it.

“We can’t sign autographs because of Covid, so this was a way to connect with the people who came out in the cold today.”

The drop in temperature and stronger winds of Wednesday practice are expected to stick around for the week. Conditions are more akin to a Europe-based Ryder Cup than the US, but Harrington doesn’t want a stormy weekend.

‘My players don’t need that’

“This would be a beach day at home,” joked Harrington. “But my players don’t need that. They’re good enough. They’re great ball strikers. We’re not looking for extreme conditions.

“The temperature is due to go up on Friday. We don’t have a problem with that. We’re relying on ourselves, not relying on outside agencies and the conditions.

“Maybe there is a little bit of an advantage for us if it does go that way. But we really have probably our best team ever of ball strikers. We are not relying on conditions to give us the edge.”

Harrington believes all three of his rookies have exceeded his expectations in the team room so far. But the player with whom he had a testing relationship for so many years has been the most impressive.

‘He works really hard behind the scenes’

“As a captain, probably Sergio has more than exceeded my expectations. I kind of knew this, but he works really hard behind the scenes.

“I wouldn’t say there isn’t a player in that room that Sergio hasn’t had a quiet word with. So he’s continually working, working on that.

“They’re all doing their job and nobody is in any shape or form below standard, but Sergio has done what he should do, what he’s expected to do, and been definitely different in the team room.”

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