In the aftermath of this year's Ryder Cup, there have been differing opinions on how Padraig Harrington fared in his role as European captain. It is fair to say that it would have been very difficult to beat that American team regardless of what decisions he made, although some of the pairings he opted for were questionable.
One of the main criticisms levelled at Harrington was that he may have overthought many of his decisions, an issue that was known to trouble him as a player during his career.
However, it turns out that he was forced into one major change at the last second before the first session of the event.
James Corrigan of The Telegraph is reporting that Harrington was forced into changing two of his pairings for Friday's foursome session due to the fact that the players that had previously been chosen together used different types of golfballs.
Of course, in foursomes the players on each team alternate shots using the same ball.
Here's how The Telegraph summed up the issue:
Telegraph Sport has learnt Harrington’s best-laid plans were ultimately forced to be ripped up on the Wednesday, the penultimate day of official practice, when it was discovered that Lee Westwood and Paul Casey played different balls and, so too, did Matt Fitzpatrick and Viktor Hovland.
Harrington felt obliged to make a hasty switch in the quartet of duos he named 24 hours later, with Westwood partnering Fitzpatrick and Casey teaming up with Hovland. Both partnerships lost.
It is reported that all four players use Titleist balls, but different versions. It is usually best practice to pair players who use the same variation of golf ball.
This sounds like a fairly large oversight from Harrington and his team, one that could have been avoided.
We will never know if this would have made any difference to the final outcome, although it is fair to say that Europe's poor start in this session made the rest of the event far more difficult for them.