Golf

Padraig Harrington wary of US Ryder Cup team

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Europe vice-captain Padraig Harrington has warned his side to be wary of the American team spirit ahead of this month's Ryder Cup.

USA have lost the previous two Ryder Cups and will be looking to gain revenge after their collapse two years ago at Medinah. The US only needed four and a half points from a possible 12 on the final day to claim the trophy but Europe made an unbelievable comeback to steal victory on American soil.

Galvanised

But Harrington believes that this year will be a different story as Europe's opponents are likely to be galvanised as they enter the event as second favourites.

"I'm worried the US are going to be better team-wise than they have ever been," Harrington said to reporters.

"I'd be wary of them coming out with a point to prove and they are seemingly loving being the underdogs."

Respected

The Americans are unable to call upon former world number one Tiger Woods, whose injury problems ruled him out of contention. However, there has been strong suggestions that not having Woods in their team may help them on and off the course. Harrington suggests that Mickelson, who will be the most experienced member in the USA team, will be much more respected than Woods would have been.

Phil Mickelson, not having Tiger there, will be the undisputed number one captain/player in the team room.

"The players like him and will listen to him. I think he will be a rallying cry for the US team."

Joining Harrington on captain Paul McGinley's staff will be former captains Sam Torrance and Jose Maria Olazabal, plus Des Smyth and Thomas Bjorn ahead of the start of the event on September 26.

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Good preparation

Harrington feels that McGinley's preparation has been spot on and supports the decision to call upon five members of staff.

Nobody has put more effort in than Paul McGinley," Harrington said. "He has left no stone unturned. He feels he needs five guys to look after all the matches.

"There are four groups on the golf course and he feels the four that aren't playing also need a vice-captain to support them."

Best player in the world

Europe head into the event as favourites largely thanks to having the best player in the world amongst their ranks, Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman won the final two major titles of season as well as the World Golf Championship event and the Bridgestone Invitational.

Harrington insists that McIlroy isn't being too heavily relied upon within Europe's team but will be asked by McGinley just to go out and play the impressive golf that he's been playing all season.

"I get the feeling that Paul wants Rory just to play golf, to lead on the golf course would be Rory's job. Lee Westwood's job would be to lead the team room.

"We want Rory to win matches and win well - be undefeatable. That would be a big thing for our team if he goes out there and doesn't just win but doesn't give their guys a chance. A quick result can really give the rest of the team a boost."

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Topics:
Ryder Cup
Golf

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