Ryder Cup 2021: European captain Padraig Harrington admits it was ‘one spot too far’ for Justin Rose

Justin Rose just misses out to Shane Lowry as Padraig Harrington confirms his three captain’s picks for Team Europe to face Team USA at Whistling Straits on September 24-26; Ryder Cup stalwarts Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter also get the nod; watch the Ryder Cup live on Sky Sports

Last Updated: 12/09/21 9:14pm

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Padraig Harrington explains the conversation he had with Justin Rose and why he decided to name Shane Lowry as a captain’s pick ahead of the former world No 1

Padraig Harrington explains the conversation he had with Justin Rose and why he decided to name Shane Lowry as a captain’s pick ahead of the former world No 1

Padraig Harrington has explained the thinking behind his decision to award a captain’s pick to Shane Lowry for the European Ryder Cup team.

Harrington had hinted strongly before the BMW PGA Championship that Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter were going to be two of his picks to face the United States at Whistling Straits due to their past records and he duly selected the experienced duo.

Lowry was then also confirmed for his Ryder Cup debut by Harrington at Wentworth on Sunday evening, being preferred to Justin Rose by his fellow Irishman.

Harrington confirms the European Ryder Cup team

Rose and Lowry both missed out on one of the nine automatic qualifying places as Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger secured the final three places, despite Rose finishing strongly in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship with a closing eagle for a seven-under 65 which left him in a tie for sixth place.

And Harrington admitted he was just unable to find room for the Englishman, who has made five Ryder Cup appearances, in his team as he selected his three captain’s picks.

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Harrington talks through the decision-making behind his three captain’s picks and explains why the likes the look of his Ryder Cup team

Harrington talks through the decision-making behind his three captain’s picks and explains why the likes the look of his Ryder Cup team

Harrington said: “The fact of the matter is, with who he was going up against, the consistency of Shane Lowry, what Ian and Sergio have brought over the years, somebody had to lose out and it really is as close as that.

“Alex Noren as well, playing fantastic golf, but ultimately somebody has to lose out. If you don’t play your way in, it’s a tough place to be and it easily could have been JR (Rose), it easily could have been Alex Noren. It was so tight at the end of the day and we just went with the passion, the core, the heart of the team has been Sergio and Ian for years.

2019 Open champion Lowry was preferred to Rose

“The consistency and the play of Shane under pressure, under stress, that’s what we went with. When JR did deliver, he performed, he came here under pressure, maybe a couple of more weeks, but it was just a step too far.

“I’m delighted Bernd Wiesberger played his way in. He’s a great player and anybody who makes it into the team fully deserves it. A great ball striker, a great person for the golf course, but ultimately it was a spot gone which could have gone to a JR or an Alex Noren.”

Sergio Garcia is Europe’s all-time leading points scorer at the Ryder Cup, while Ian Poulter has only lost six times in 22 matches

Rose said after completing his round on Sunday that he would “cheer the boys on anyway” if he was not picked, and Harrington revealed he had spoken to the 41-year-old about his omission.

“He’s a big team player,” said Harrington. “I really appreciate the fact that I’ve had a chat with him and [he’s] an absolute gentleman. He really understands and [is] clearly disappointed because after the delivery today, finishing with an eagle on the last, the glory of it all, I certainly would have been happy with him there. But it was just one spot too far.”

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