Gamble that backfired for Europe's Harrington at Ryder Cup

Gamble that backfired for Europe's Harrington at Ryder Cup

Shocking Etiquette and Terrible Behaviour were some of the British newspaper headlines the day after the US thrashed Europe 19-9 to win the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin last month.

Europe captain Padraig Harrington was booed onto the tee and this was followed by a round of similar noises when a European name was announced during the three-day contest.

Nothing new here. But should this be encouraged into a game that possesses so much traditional etiquette and is held high as a gentleman's game?

Should shots be greeted with shouts of "Get in the water" and missed putts applauded?

Questions were raised throughout, and the inquest will long continue from the fallout from such a crushing defeat for the European team.

But what exactly did Harrington, in hindsight, get wrong?

Even before a ball had been struck there was controversy.

That's not necessarily anything new in terms of the wild-card picks but making alterations to the qualifying set-up worked against the Irishman.

Nobody will admit it, but Bernd Wiesberger demoting Shane Lowry from the automatic spots with his performance at Wentworth was a problem.

Not that the Austrian didn't play well or was out of his depth, it's that it meant the pick that was likely destined for Justin Rose had to be used to secure the services of the 2019 British Open winner.

The other two picks went to "Postman" Ian Poulter and Ryder Cup record points scorer Sergio Garcia.

While Garcia played his part, Poulter struggled to recapture anything like his form, as was the case with Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy.

Harrington could have foreseen such a scenario, especially given the double points on offer at the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, at Wentworth which was the final chance to book an automatic spot.

The concept was noble as it was designed to ensure Harrington had players coming in with form. But with only three captain's picks at his disposal, it backfired.

Out of Bounds: I had to agree with the journalist who said that the lightheartedness and giggles at secret jokes were not appreciated by many viewers who thought that the players concerned should have rather been on the practice range.

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