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Harrington against Ryder Cup changes

(Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

(Photo by Richard Heathcote / Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington feels it would be wrong to change the rules to allow non-European Tour members to play in the Ryder Cup.

A string of disappointing performances meant Europe lost 17-11 to the USA at Hazeltine with a team consisting of six rookies and a couple of captain’s picks that were not in the best of form.

One of those was Lee Westwood and the Englishman, along with Rory McIlroy, feels that there needs to be a rethink about only allowing players to participate in the biennial event if they are members of the European Tour and play the requisite number of tournaments to maintain their status.

The duo were referring to Englishman Paul Casey, who made the unusual decision to give up his European Tour membership to concentrate on playing on the more lucrative PGA Tour, a choice which paid off personally, as he has climbed the rankings and is hovering just outside the top 10.

It could be argued that Casey was the in-form player ahead of the Ryder Cup but Darren Clarke was unable to select him, much to the frustration of those concerned as the team missed out on a potential key piece.

However three-time major winner Harrington is not in agreement and feels the current system works fine, with the integrity of the Tour plus the showpiece event more important than any one individual.

“The Ryder Cup is far too important to the European Tour for the man on the ground to be turning around and saying, ‘Why not just select the top 12 in the world rankings and be done with it.’ That would be silly, wouldn’t it?”

“The Ryder Cup is all about the European Tour. And the Ryder Cup, to be honest, it represents the non-Europeans who are members of the European Tour too. It is all about the European Tour. That is how I see it.

“It is absolutely a carrot used by the European Tour. If you want to play in the Ryder Cup and improve your career prospects and all that goes with it, you have got to be a member of the tour and play five times. It is not much to ask anybody.”

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