Padraig Harrington tells Bob MacIntyre: Just go out and play golf

European captain Padraig Harrington has urged Bob MacIntyre to “just go out and play golf” as the young Scot heads into a big stretch of events in his bid to make this year’s Ryder Cup team at Whistling Straits.

Bob Macintyre and Padraig Harrington played together during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in  January. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.
Bob Macintyre and Padraig Harrington played together during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in January. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images.

MacIntyre is just outside the nine automatic spots in Harrington’s team, having been on the Irishman’s radar for the match in Wisconsin after recording his breakthrough win on the European Tour last November then breaking into the world’s top 50 for the first time earlier this year.

New US Open champion and world No 1 Jon Rahm is set to spearhead the European side, with Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey, Viktor Hovland, Lee Westwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Dundee-based Frenchman Victor Perez occupying the other automatic berths at the moment.

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Even with double counting points now on offer until the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September, Harrington doesn’t envisage too much changing on that front, but he is braced for some major headaches over his three wild cards.

As things stand, MacIntyre is set to be up against Open champion Shane Lowry, former US Open winner Justin Rose, record Ryder Cup points-scorer Sergio Garcia and Ryder Cup talisman Ian Poulter in the battle for those spots.

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Former Scottish Open champion Bernd Weisberger is another player in the reckoning, as is Guido Migliozzi after the young Italian catapulted himself up the points list on the back of a top-five finish in the US Open at Torrey Pines.

Speaking as he announced Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell as vice captains in addition to Robert Karlsson and Luke Donald, Harrington was asked by The Scotsman what he was looking for from the likes of MacIntyre over the next couple of months.

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“It’s important for us as vice captain and the captain to build bonds with the players, but we are not there to judge how they get the job done,” he said. “The score you shoot is who you are as a player, not how you do it.

Bob MacIntyre and all the other guys, just go and play golf, go out and be themselves and play their game. Go out and perform on the golf course and that’s what impresses. We will see their scores and their finishes.

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"With doable points, there is the option for maybe two spots (to change) but certainly the last spot seems to be up for grabs in the sense that there’s always somebody going to come out. Like Guido last week jumped quite a bit into contention and that’s going to happen over the next couple of months with double counting points.

“There is going to be a bit of movement. Everybody has just got to go play golf, try and get in there automatically and obviously anybody who gets close and any experienced players who gets reasonable close will be in with a shout for those three picks.

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“But I will say it is tight for the three picks. You’ve got maybe half a dozen kind of rookies vying for those positions and maybe got five or six experienced players also vying to get in as a pick. It is pretty tight for those picks, no doubt about it.”

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