USA Ryder Cup team could be strongest in history says Padraig Harrington

European captain Padraig Harrington believes this year's American Ryder Cup team could be the strongest in the history of the competition.

Jack Seddon's picture
Thu, 18 Feb 2021
USA Ryder Cup team could be strongest in history says Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington believes he faces a tough task at Whistling Straits in the Ryder Cup this year, against what he believes could be the strongest USA team in the history of the competition.

There's no denying that American golfers are dominating the world rankings at the moment, with seven of the top 10 and 13 of the top 20 all hailing from the USA, whilst Europe only holds six places in the world's top 20.

Steve Stricker's side are the odds-on favourites with the bookies to win on home turf in Wisconsin and Harrington is more than aware of the threat they pose come September.

"I can't control it [Team USA] but I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't looking [at the Ryder Cup standings]," Harrington told Sky Sports News. "They're incredibly strong on paper aren't they, not just on paper but they are actually incredibly strong.

"They probably have more players in the top 10, top 20 in the world than they've ever had and they do seem to be on a nice bit of a purple patch at the moment.

"That's what Europe always goes up against. We go up against a very strong US team and we have to figure a way of being a better team, of working in the team system of creating a group that's better than the individuals - in terms of foursomes and fourball - and get the most out of it.

"If it was purely a bookmaker exercise and what you write down on paper then it would be extraordinary difficult to beat the US on their home soil, but hopefully we'll work our magic and get the best out of our players in that given week."

Jordan Spieth has played in the previous three Ryder Cup's and although he currently sits outside of the automatic qualification for this year's event, the three-time major winner has been making strides in his game over the past few weeks and Harrington has been keeping a close eye on the former World No.1.

"Jordan [Spieth] was obviously a huge star but not very many people generate the buzz that he has generated over the past couple of weeks," Harrington added. "I'm not saying it was Tiger-esque, but Tiger moved the needle incredibly but Jordan Spieth actually did an impressive job.

"The buzz around him coming back shows just how big of a star he was when he was winning his majors and how much he is loved. I think he, as a person, is liked a lot, which really helps in terms of his golfing comeback.

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"I think people want to see success for him again and he's playing good golf, but the difficult for him is that he's trying to live up to the past. Even if you knew what the past was, it's still very hard to live up to those standards.

"It was nice to see that buzz and there was a genuine sense of willingness and joy that he was back playing good golf and I've got to say, a little bit like Tiger, people were tuning into see it.

"I'm curious to see how he reacts and how he plays, because it's difficult when you're on that comeback road. Your perception of what the past is always a lot better - it's like you never hit a bad shot when you were at your best."

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