SHOCKING! Golf ball issues forced Padraig Harrington to make Ryder Cup changes!

REVEALED! Insider reveals Padraig Harrington was forced to make late switches to his pairings as a result of golf ball issues with key players.

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 5 Oct 2021

SHOCKING! Golf ball issues forced Padraig Harrington to make Ryder Cup changes!

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington was forced into switching a number of his pairings on Day One at Whistling Straits as a direct result of "golf ball issues" with a number of his key players, according to a report by Telegraph Sport's James Corrigan

Harrington made it clear after Europe were thrashed in a record-breaking scoreline of 19-9 by Steve Stricker's United States side that he had no regrets with his decisions and that he could "walk away feeling very comfortable". 

However, a report has emerged in the Telegraph Sport this week claiming Harrington's pairings were disrupted just hours before the all-important Friday Morning Foursomes due to he and his stats team getting the models of Titleist golf balls wrong. 

If true, farcical when you consider Harrington had a full stats team to help him with his pairings... not to mention the fact they had an extra year to get things right with the Ryder Cup being delayed due to the Covid pandemic. 

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According to the revelation, Harrington ripped up his initial pairing of Lee Westwood and Paul Casey on the final day of practice, as well as Viktor Hovland and Matt Fitzpatrick - all because they played different Titleist golf balls to the ones he first thought they did. 

Harrington decided to switch those pairings as a result, sticking Westwood with Fitzpatrick and Casey with Hovland. 

It mattered little as both of them lost their matches in the morning as Europe went 3-1 down in the first session, and never recovered. 

Hovland and Casey never played together again, but Westwood and Fitzpatrick were sent out again when losing in the Saturday Foursomes.

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"Maybe they should have thought about the ball issue earlier, as it is always part of the equation of putting two players together in a foursomes," an insider told Telegraph Sport

"But all four play Titleist and you might have thought it would be fine. Yet there are different sorts of Titleist balls."

REVEALED: PLAYER RATINGS FOR TEAM EUROPE AT THE RYDER CUP

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Corrigan states: "Fitzpatrick plays the Titleist Pro V1x issued in 2019, while Hovland plays the Titleist Pro V1 released earlier this year. Westwood and Casey also employ different types of Titleist, by far the most popular brand on Tour.

"As the source said, the ball has long been a factor in putting together pairings, although interestingly a new rule introduced in 2006 apparently reduced its relevance. 

"Instead of being required to use one make and model the entire round, team-mates were allowed to switch balls at the end of each hole.

"That permitted a compromise where the player driving off would use the favoured ball of his partner, who would then have the luxury of familiarity on the approach shots, for which distance control is paramount.

"However, stats have since revealed that those partnerships who use the same ball do have an advantage."

Let's be honest, this baffling golf ball issue would not have made a blind bit of difference to the overall scoreline as Europe were trounced for three straight days. 

But it certainly goes to show there were some cracks in Harrington's preparations, especially in the Foursomes. 

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