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Ryder Cup: Harrington’s playing record suggests he has his work cut as captain

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Padraig Harrington’s underwhelming playing record in the Ryder Cup suggests he may find it difficult to captain Team Europe to victory in this year’s event.

Harrington was a regular in the tournament from 1999 to 2010, finishing on the winning side on four of the six occasions he took part.

However, as highlighted by recent research by Betway, the Irish golfer’s personal record was fairly unimpressive given the talent he possessed.

Harrington recorded a 9-13-3 record in the prestigious event, meaning he contributed just 10½ points out of the 25 available to him.

His tally is even more concerning when placed against the five Europeans who scored at least 20 points and subsequently went on to captain the team.

Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal were all given the honour of leading Team Europe, and only Faldo failed to claim the trophy.

Ten captains have led Europe to glory in the Ryder Cup, with seven of them possessing a points percentage of at least 50 percent as a player.

By contrast, Harrington’s 42% points tally lags some way behind and is undoubtedly a major concern ahead of this year’s event at Whistling Straits.

Harrington will take some comfort from Thomas Bjorn’s success as captain in 2018, when Europe demolished Team USA 17½-10½ at Le Golf National.

Bjorn was a steady player in his three appearances in the tournament, going 3-4-2 to secure a 44.4 points percentage.

While a strong playing record appears to be an advantage from a European perspective, that is not the case where the USA are concerned.

Tom Kite, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Lanny Wadkins and Billy Casper were the most successful players to become Ryder Cup captains for the USA.

However, they won just two of the six Ryder Cups they contested as captain – a disappointing return considering given their collective playing ability.

The three players who have captained the USA to victory since 1999 – Davis Love III, Paul Azinger and Ben Crenshaw – all had poor records as players.

That should give Steve Stricker plenty of encouragement that he can help the USA wrestle back the trophy from Europe this week.

He was on the winning side just once in three appearances as a player, picking up just 3½ points with a 3-7-1 record for a 31.8 points percentage.

His record is similar to Crenshaw’s 29.17 points percentage (3-8-1), which is the lowest of any player who went on to captain the USA.

Crenshaw subsequently led the USA to a famous 14 ½-13½ win at the ‘Battle of Brookline’ in 1999 – a feat that Stricker will be desperate to emulate.

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