Why Harrington Is Really Happy McIlroy Didn't Overreact to Ryder Cup Heckler

Saturday December 10th, 2016
Robert Beck for Sports Illustrated

Padraig Harrington was a vice-captain for Europe's 2016 Ryder Cup team, and he was also trailing Rory McIlroy during his Saturday four-balls match that turned heated when a heckler crossed the line with an expletive-heavy message to McIlroy.

McIlroy, who was playing his match with Thomas Pieters and against Americans Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, walked over to the gallery after hearing the spectator. He pointed to him and he was escorted out by security.

Harrington, who was the vice-captain following along in that match, recently went into detail about the tense moment in a story with the Irish Golf Desk. In short, he's happy it didn't turn into anything more.

"All I was thinking about was, 'I am going to have to wade in with him (into the gallery).' That's all I am thinking," Harrington said. "I thought, 'If there is a second or third fella beyond the ropes, what then?' But I wasn't close enough to give him the pull back because I am trying to catch up from 10 yards back.

"So I am going, 'Aww no, Rory, don't go in. I am going to have to go in too.'"

Harrington, though, was happy McIlroy kept his composure.

"Rory was that close to going in there, and he told me last night it was because he saw the guy eye-to-eye," Harrington said. "And I would have had to go in after him!"

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