Ryder Cup: 'Not all good Americans win in Europe' - Harrington responds to Azinger remarks

McDowell has good chance of making Ryder Cup team - Europe skipper Harrington

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has dismissed "crass" comments by former USA captain Paul Azinger.

At the Honda Classic, Azinger suggested European players had to win on the PGA Tour and prove themselves in America.

"The comments themselves were pretty crass. His points weren't well put," said Harrington.

"It didn't come across very well and it is not like all good Americans have won in Europe or around the world."

Azinger's comments on the European Tour sparked outrage on social media and several high-profile golfers, including Ian Poulter, responded to his remarks.

"He was talking to a US audience, even though it went out at home, and he was speaking to 320 million Americans," added Harrington

"Unfortunately it is on the same feed when they are sending it back to Europe."

Harrington, who has won three major championships and six times on the PGA Tour, admits it is difficult for European players to win in the States.

"It is tough. You see a lot of good European players come across to the States and not win because they are uncomfortable in a different environment," added the 48-year-old.

"Just coming here, and the travel, it is very lonely when you play in the States. It really is significantly different.

"There are a lot of reasons to why a great player doesn't always win over here and it is not as clear cut as Paul Azinger wanted to make out."

Paul Azinger
Paul Azinger captained the USA to Ryder Cup glory in 2008

Harrington will captain Europe at a Ryder Cup for the first time and says that Azinger's comments will give an extra edge to September's tournament at Whistling Straits.

"We all watch the Ryder Cup because of the little bit of spice in it," he said.

"It's very competitive. Players are very friendly at this stage, but we all want to win and that's why it is the Ryder Cup and not the President's Cup.

"I'm confident they can do the job but it is going to be very difficult, the US will be a strong side at home.

"If you are going to a traditional US golf course then you will need a 'Miracle of Medinah' to win in that sort of situation, but Whistling Straits gives us a chance.

"I'm looking at the team and the players who could do it, but it is another matter altogether going out there, producing the goods and winning."

McDowell likely to be at Ryder Cup 'in some guise'

After missing out on a playing place in Europe's Ryder Cup team last time out in France, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell has hit a resurgent patch of form and Harrington says he could force himself into contention.

"Graeme will probably be there in some guise no matter what," said Harrington on the possibility of making McDowell a vice-captain.

"Being a potential vice-captain in my teams seems to be a good way to get your form going. Graeme has won, Lee Westwood has won and Luke Donald nearly won last week.

"They are guys that I will be thinking about, but it is nice to see Graeme winning, he's in good form and he has a good chance of making the team too."

Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy
Graeme McDowell was vice captain at the 2018 Ryder Cup under Thomas Bjorn

Harrington also said that Rory McIlroy has to be on top form if Europe are to leave Whistling Straits victorious.

"It doesn't really matter if he is named world number one or not, Rory is the biggest draw in the game," he said.

"I just want Rory in form, it doesn't matter if he is one, two or three in the world.

"He's the sort of player you want leading your team on the golf course. He's been in lovely form for about a year, so I'm just telling him to hang on and keep that form going."

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