Rory McIlroy chosen as a scapegoat by Padraig Harrington with Ryder Cup star snubbed

Ryder Cup: Commentator says Rory McIlroy has been ‘scapegoat’

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Rory Mcllroy has been labelled a “scapegoat” after being dropped from a Ryder Cup session for the first time in his career. Mcllroy, 32, is not involved in the Saturday morning foursomes session after enduring a nightmare first day which saw him lose both his matches.

The Northern Irishman, who was beaten 5&3 in his Friday foursomes match with Ian Poulter and 4&3 with Shane Lowry, cut a frustrated figure throughout as Team USA built up a commanding 6-2 lead.

It ends a remarkable run for McIlroy, so often perceived as Team Europe’s talisman, having previously played in 26 straight matches since making his debut in 2010.

Despite his first day form, his omission comes as somewhat of a surprise, and GB News Sport Editor Mike Bovill suggested he was being singled out for a poor all-round European display.

“Team Europe got absolutely spanked yesterday,” he said on GB News.

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“That is the biggest margin the Americans have ever enjoyed after the first day of a Ryder Cup against Team Europe.

“A terrible, terrible start for the reigning champions and it looks like Rory McIlroy has been picked out as something of a scapegoat by captain Padraig Harrington.

“For the first time in his Ryder Cup career, Rory McIlroy will be sitting out a session later today. He’s not been selected for today’s opening foursomes.”

Sky Sports Golf expert Paul McGinley appeared to echo Bovill’s sentiments, questioning on live commentary why Harrington wasn’t utilising his best players when he desperately needed to claw back points.

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Team Europe captain Harrington however, was still full of praise for Mcllroy despite standing by his decision to leave him out.

Harrington, 50, said he “could not have asked more” from the star, who has 13 Ryder Cup points to his name from his five previous tournament appearances.

“The golf didn’t go as well as he would have liked, but I’m not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team,” Harrington added.

Mcllroy and Poulter never truly recovered from a disastrous start against Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, going five down through five holes and although they later cut the deficit to three down, a fightback never looked likely.

McIlroy and Lowry seemed set to fair better in their fourballs match against Harris English and Tony Finau, going one up after five holes.

That was as good as it got however as the American pair, inspired by the putting of Finau, won five and halved five of the next 10 holes to seal victory.

It was Lowry’s Ryder Cup debut, and he too wasn’t included in the opening session on Saturday.

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