Three-time major winner Pádraig Harrington faces an uncertain future in the US after he missed the cut by six shots in the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro and lost his PGA Tour card. But could a Ryder Cup vice-captaincy — a stepping stone to the captaincy itself — prove to be a silver lining to his cloud after his 11th missed cut from 22 starts this year?
It was once thought unlikely that Harrington would be asked to be one of Paul McGinley's Ryder Cup assistant captains but with the skipper indicating that he will add two current players to his current backroom team of Des Smyth and Sam Torrance, Harrington could well come into consideration.
it would be no bad move in terms of taking the captaincy itself as the last three captains have all acted as a vice-captain before getting the job.
The Dubliner, 43 later this month, would not turn down an assistant's role but may well dismiss captaincy talk as he bids to turn his career around after claiming just one Top-3 finish and missing 33 cuts in the last four years.
His latest reverse costs him the PGA Tour card..
Ranked 188th in the FedEx Cup standings having missed the cut in the US PGA, he needed to finish first or second to move into the Top 125 who contest the first playoff event next week.
He has no intention of trying to save his status via the Web.com Tour Finals as he must return to Europe to meet the 13-event minimum required for membership of the European Tour, though he said he may return to the US late in the year to get a jump start on the wraparound season.
Harrington carded a second successive two over 72 to miss the cut by six shots on four over par at Sedgefield Country Club with the low point coming at the par-five 15th, where he made a double bogey seven by four-putting from 50 feet. Having knocked his approach putt six feet past, he three-putted from there, missing from just inside three feet for bogey.
"My expectations were very high this week, so this is disappointing," he said. "My expectations were very, very high. I just can't get out of my own way. Such is life. I'm certainly working on some good things. That's maybe why my expectations were so high. It will probably happen when I least expect it."
Ranked 36th on the PGA TOUR's career money list, he doesn't plan to use his one-time exemption for being in the top 50 so he can save his card.
Instead he plans to piece together a schedule with his sponsor exemptions and his limited status, he said.
He's seeking exemptions for the PGA Tour's fall events to get an early start on the 2014-15 season having found himself behind the eight ball this year with 12 events already played before he teed it up in Phoenix in February.
As he's now outside the world's Top 50 at 267th in the world, he misses out of easy world ranking and FedEx Cup points from the WGC events, adding to the difficulty of retaining his card without having a big finish.
He is already tentatively entered for the Italian Open and the Omega European Masters in Crans as he has played just eight of the minimum 13 European Tour events so far and is 89th in the Race to Dubai.
His putting is certainly hindering him as he told reporter Bernie McGuire in North Carolina last night.
“I changed my putting substantially this week but it’s different when you get under the gun. I putted terribly yesterday and had a four-putt today.
"Over the years I would get very high reputation of being a good putter but I’ve never been in the top 25 in putting over here, and I’ve only touched there once.
“I’ve made a change and hopefully that pans out. If I hadn’t seen the stats I would have stuck with what I had. I started out on Thursday putting terrible and it went all through my game.”