Pádraig Harrington chooses Rory McIlroy to lead Europe despite poor form

It’s testimony to the challenge facing Pádraig Harrington that up to now there has not been much second guessing or criticism of his selections or his approach. 

At 11-5 down Europe are not only looking at a loss but possibly facing their heaviest ever defeat.  Despite the score line there is a prevailing view that Harrington and his vice captains are broadly going about things the right way. 

That is because this is the highest ranked US team ever against one of the lowest ranked Euro teams ever, playing on US soil with almost no European fans.  Make no mistake this was Mount Everest.

A miracle is needed for Europe to win the Ryder Cup.

When you are 11-5 down the playbook is to look at Medinah when Europe overcame a four-point deficit. On Sky’s analysis yesterday Paul McGinley, a vice captain at Medinah spoke about getting blue on the board early on that Ryder Cup Sunday.  The ‘Miracle at Medinah’ was achieved by winning five of the six opening matches and by front loading the European line-up.  

If Medinah was a miracle then today will go far beyond turning water into wine. The blueprint is there so most fans and commentators will expect Europe’s top performing players to line out first. It would be difficult to see anything but Jon Rahm at No.1 followed by Lowry, Garcia, Hovland but it’s not the case. Padraig has opted for Rory as the opening batter.

Rory McIlroy needs to find his from quickly in the Ryder Cup.

Everyone in golf wants Rory McIlroy to return to form but the much-loved Holywood man has continued to be out of sorts this week.  In fact he has made less birdies than anyone else on either side and remains without a point.  Finding your form in a Ryder Cup cauldron is very difficult and Rory has yet to find his this week so why then when Europe needs everything to go right should Rory be given the honour and responsibility of leading out ahead of Rahm, Garcia or Lowry?

Only Harrington and his vice-captains will know why McIlroy is at No.1. Maybe at 11-5 down you can gamble or maybe the team wants to see Rory get his mojo back in a box office slot. Either way Xander Schauffle, the icy Olympic Champion, is waiting and he won’t be in fear on that first tee. In fact the fear could be that Schauffle could dish out a heavy beating making a bad situation worse for Rory and Europe. Here’s hoping Rory can find his inner Rory and can get some blue on the board early. Let the miracle commence. 

Written by Brian Quinn.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.