Padraig Harrington: Why Tiger Woods will be even more ‘dangerous’ in the Ryder Cup

Padraig Harrington had to wait an extra year for his Ryder Cup squad to face the Americans, but that should — hopefully — take place this fall, when Harrington’s European team squares off against the U.S. at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Harrington, a six-time player for the European team, recently sat down with GOLF Subpar Podcast hosts Drew Stoltz and Colt Knost to break down the 2021 Ryder Cup and more. They also talked about the influence of Tiger Woods, who had an impressive showing at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. Woods went 3-0 as a player and captained the team to a 16-14 win.

Harrington said he was impressed with what he saw from Woods in Australia, which was Woods’ first chance as a captain.

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“I think Tiger has become more dangerous in that environment,” Harrington said. “In one stage you are just managing your own golf, then you get a little older. I think Tiger now understands he’s got two roles to play — he’s got to get back and help the other part of the team with motivation and just being Tiger, because everybody would love to follow Tiger. If he’s prepared to give that of himself, I think his team would fall in behind him. So that is a worrying area for me, for sure.”

Harrington said this Woods is “much softer, friendlier,” than the early 2000s version and explained when some Ryder Cups were hard on Woods, who is 13-21-3 all-time in the event.

“He was a great guy to play golf with because he was just so straight on the golf course,” Harrington said. “If Tiger said ‘Good shot’ to you, you know you hit a good shot. He wasn’t going to say good shot to an average shot. He was just such a solid individual but very focused on his golf. So it was tough for him at the Ryder Cup, because he liked to practice at 6 in the morning and be done, and then he’s being told, No, you are going out at half 10, you are going to be out on the golf course 5 1/2 hours. It was very hard for a good player. And remember, all golfers are self-managed. We decide exactly how much work we are doing and how much practice we are doing, and when we are doing that, where at the Ryder Cup you are given a schedule.

Woods, who recently announced another surgery and will miss some time, has work to do in qualifying for the 2021 Ryder Cup team, but if he’s healthy and in remotely good form, it’s almost a lock he’d be a captain’s pick anyway. The 2021 Ryder Cup is scheduled for Sept. 24-26.

You can listen to the entire podcast with Harrington below.

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Josh Berhow

Golf.com Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.