Ryder Cup 2021: Harrington confirms McIlroy will play afternoon fourballs

by Ronan MacNamara  

Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry. By Golffile

The big breaking news late last night was that Rory McIlroy would not play the morning foursomes having been comprehensively beaten in both his matches yesterday alongside Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry respectively.

It was the first time McIlroy lost both his matches in a single day in his Ryder Cup career.

Harrington has chosen to rest the Holywood native which means for the first time, he will not play all five sessions at a Ryder Cup.

With Europe behind the 8 ball already at 6-2 down heading into the morning foursomes, the European captain was quick to defend his actions believing it’s about keeping the four-time major champion fresh for the Sunday singles.

“We need Rory for the singles,” Harrington told Sky Sports. “Pushing him out this morning, making him play five times, that would be an awful lot. Clearly you’re going to see him this afternoon.”

“His health is good. He’s in a strong state of mind. Look, we’re a strong and balanced team. We know we need a big performance out of him in singles tomorrow so he needs to rest like everybody else.” 

Harrington wasn’t asked about his debatable calls to leave out Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood who performed well despite not being able to win last night. 

The USA won the opening five holes of the first two matches this morning before Bernd Wiesberger put blue on the board for Europe who need to win a session to have any hope of reigniting their hopes.

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