Harrington brands Ryder Cup idea ‘silly’

Padraig Harrington defended the European Tour's membership requirement to qualify for the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy said recently that the two-yearly event should be played between "the best 12 players from Europe versus the best 12 players from the US" and that "there shouldn't be anything to do with membership of tours."

"The Ryder Cup is far too important to the European Tour for the man on the ground to be turning around and saying: 'Why not just select the top 12 in the world rankings and be done with it?'" Harrington said after the Turkish Airlines Open.

"That would be silly, wouldn't it?" the Irishman said. "The reason we have done well in the Ryder Cup is because of our selection criteria and how we have worked it."

"Just because we lost the last one and the US have changed their criteria doesn't mean we should change ours. Ours was working just fine."

Harrington endorsed some minor tweaks to the European selection system of the leading four members on the Ryder Cup European Points List, five from Ryder Cup World Points List and three captain's picks.

"I would change the [final qualifying cut-off] date and push it back two weeks," he said. "It's just a little early, a month before it."

"The Ryder Cup is all about the European Tour and the Ryder Cup, to be honest, it represents the non-Europeans who are members of the European Tour too. It is all about the European Tour. That is how I see it."

"It is absolutely a carrot used by the European Tour. If you want to play in the Ryder Cup and improve your career prospects and all that goes with it, you have got to be a member of the tour and play five times. It is not much to ask anybody."

"Every rank and file player starting a Ryder Cup year thinks he can make a Ryder Cup team. You don't want to take away that golden ticket. That's what drives our tour."