Golf: McIlroy speaks after shot accidentally hits father
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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington insists his friendship with Shane Lowry did not influence his decision to include his countryman in the team. Harrington suggested if anything, their good relationship made it tougher for him to select his pal.
Lowry was given one of Harrington’s three wild cards for the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup, with Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter receiving the other two.
“Everybody says ‘You’re going to pick Shane, you’re going to pick Shane’, and if anything that pushed it away from me. I’m terrible like that,” Harrington, 50, said regarding his decision.
“It actually made it harder for Shane to get in the team. I had to keep checking with the vice-captains. You know, I’m not biased here. This is right. Don’t let me be distracted here because Shane is my friend.”
He added: “It was with the support of the vice-captains I was able to give him the nod and I was thrilled with that.
“There’s downsides to this job, having to tell the guys that weren’t getting the picks, but having to tell Shane that he got the pick was a big thrill of mine that he is a friend of mine and knowing that it was the right thing to do, it wasn’t me being unconsciously biased.”
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Lowry, 34, is set to compete in his first Ryder Cup alongside Bernd Wiesberger and Viktor Hovland.
The Irishman’s best result in 2021 is a tie for fourth at the US PGA Championship and he also registered top-10 finishes in the Players Championship, RBC Heritage and Memorial Tournament.
Harrington sung Lowry’s praises, adding: “(I’m) thrilled with the way he handled the pressure throughout this year. His consistency, his form has been tremendous. He really pushed on during the latter half of the season.
“I believe he’s going to do a good job. He brings great passion. He fits very well into the team and it’s great to have a few rookies in the team.”
Lowry, who received the good news while with his father in the players’ lounge at BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, is confident he can justify his captain’s faith as Europe aim to win the Ryder Cup for the eighth time in the last 10 contests.
“I have a huge amount of self-belief that I can go there and deliver points for Europe and that’s all that matters, really,” Lowry said.
“Doesn’t matter whether you made the team number one or the last man to have done it. I have the self-belief that I can deliver points and that’s what it’s all about.”
He continued: “My dad was obviously very anxious and it was just a lovely picture with the two of us we might share over the next few days.
“It’s incredible because he’s my number one fan and he’s been there through it all.
“He was there in 2016 when I felt like I was close to the team and didn’t make it and he was there to pick me up off the bad times and it’s great to have him there to enjoy the good times, as well.”
The United States team also has first-time Ryder Cup performers, after captain Steve Stricker handed wildcards to Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Harris English, with Collin Morikawa and Patrick Cantlay securing automatic qualification.
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