KOHLER, Wis. — European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington on Monday night in the team room opened the week by showing a powerful video and giving each of his 12 players a number.
In the video Harrington presented, it showed that only 164 European players have played in a Ryder Cup, which is fewer than the number of people who’ve flown into space or climbed Mount Everest. Each player who’s ever played for Europe has a number, from the first to do it to the three rookies on this year’s team.
“We have a wall with the roll of fame of who have played, and being able to look at those names and go through it, 164 is just startlingly small amount of players,” Harrington said Tuesday. “Obviously, you can blame Lee Westwood for that for playing 11 times, and Sergio [Garcia] as well (for playing in his 10th). But it’s a small group of people.
“When you think 580 people have gone to space and 5,870 people have climbed Mount Everest, it’s incredible that there’s so few who have played in the Ryder Cup,” Harrington went on. “It makes it very special for the players to know that they have a place in history that can never be taken away from them. They will always have a name on that wall.
“I’m up there (at number) 131, so it’s nice for me to look back and remember … kind of remember the person I was as a Ryder Cup player. And for these current players, obviously they’re experiencing it. The three rookies, it was extra special for them to be added in, and they had their moment to stand up and kind of receive the applause of everybody that they’re new to this.
“It was a lovely way to start the week. We have more.”
The presentation of the numbers was moving to the European players.
“That’s a pretty small group of players,” Rory McIlroy said. “I’m No. 144. I think Lee is No. 118. But then you just look at all the players before you, and you look at Bernd Wiesberger who’s making his debut this year who’s No. 164. It’s a small collection of people that have played for Europe in the Ryder Cup.
“I think that’s what brings us very close together, and that’s been one of our sort of big focus points this week is just being here is very special and being part of a European team. Very few people can call themselves a European Ryder Cup player.
“(The video) put it into context — 570 people have been into space, I think over 5,000 people have climbed Everest, 225 have won a men’s major. When you sort of break it down like that it’s a pretty small group and it’s pretty cool.”
Garcia, playing in his 10th Ryder Cup, called the video “powerful.”
“I didn’t know my number,” he said. “I’ve always known that being a part of the Ryder Cup team is very difficult, but I didn’t know that only that little amount of players have made it. So that showed you how difficult it really is. That’s why every time I’m a part of a team or the rest of our teammates, that’s why we give it the respect that it deserves, because it’s so difficult to be a part of it. It’s an honor, and we treat it like that.”