Padraig Harrington has called on Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie to leave the qualifying system alone and avoid a wild card headache.
Ireland’s triple major winner believes Monty will put on his Ryder Cup game face and bring out the best in the players without being afraid to take the tough decisions.
But he doesn’t believe that the Scot needs to change the qualifying system and increase the number of captain's picks.
Harrington insisted: “I think our system has produced a winning team more times than not and I think we should stick it. Four picks can be an awful headache and somebody will always feel hard done by, more so than with two.
“Two picks gives enough places for the guys on the World Rankings and for the guys on the European Money List to qualify for the team. I think the system has been excellent. It has been proved that the guys who qualify by right, especially the guy who is last in, have always played well at the Ryder Cup. I would actually be really against it being changed.”
The Dubliner was initially surprised that Monty put his name forward for the captaincy but having seen him transformed by the biennial competition on four occasions, he believes he will be a fearless leader in his new role off the course.
Explaining Monty's Ryder Cup secret, he said: "What changed for Monty in the Ryder Cup is that he’s only controlling one player or two players and he loves to be in control. When he gets flaky, it's when things get out of control.
"In a tournament he can’t control 150 players or the five or six with him on a leaderboard. It’s a different situation one-on-one in match play because he feels he can control the whole situation."
Harrington and Montgomerie teamed up decisively in the 2004 Ryder Cup in Detroit, beating Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in a pivotal opening fourballs.
And the 37-year-old Dubliner, who will be one of the oldest players on the 2010 side, sees no reason why Montgomerie won't be a no-nonsense leader who won't be afraid to talk tough.
Harrington said: “We have to try and win back the Ryder Cup and in order to do that, we have to put the best team out and the best team also means the best possible captain.
“I think Monty will be excellent, especially as the US have a strong captain in Corey Pavin. I think we needed a strong character in there.
“You have to be able to say the right things and be strong enough to be positive for your own team but you’ve also got to be sensitive enough to realise there’s always another side to these things. I think Monty has a habit of saying the right things.
“It’s one thing to listen to your players but he’s going to have to make decisions too and be strong in that sense. Captains can’t pander to everyone in the team. At the end of the day, he’s going to have to call the shots.
“Yes, he can put his arm around guys’ shoulders but he is still going to have to make decisions, be clear on those decisions and live by those decisions. That’s an important part of being a captain. I feel he will have the ability to do both."
According to Harrington, having Montgomerie as skipper will take the pressure off as Europe bids to regain the trophy in Wales. He's a safe pair of hands and that is comforting.
He said: “As a player, he led from the front in person. Hopefully he will be able to do that job as team captain. Hopefully his presence and his just being there will kind of lead the team. He will keep everything away from the players during the week."
Harrington and Mongtomerie played together five times in three successive winning sides from 2002 to 2006. They won three and lost two of thier foursomes and fourball matches but none was more important than their 2 and 1 win over the "Dream Team" of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the opening fourballs at Oakland Hills in 2004. Harrington was the top ranked player, but Montgomerie was unquestionably the leader.
Harrington explained: "On the occasions I played with him, it was very easy for me to defer to him as the captain of our foursome or fourball. Most good partnerships have a captain in the partnership. I think sometimes I could be at fault in that myself, for not taking enough of a lead at other times. Yet when I won (the World Cup) in 1997 with Paul (McGinley), he was very much the captain. It is easier sometimes for one person to make the decisions clearly. Definitely, Monty was that and hopefully he will be able to play that role fully for the whole team."
As for his poor Ryder Cup record in recent years - two halves from nine matches since 2006 - Harrington hopes Monty will inspire him to put the record straight in 2010.
He confessed: “ I think my performances are more to do with scheduling at that time of the year. But, yes, I have been flat in the last two. I will be hoping for Monty to lead the way next time. It won't do me any harm, let's say, having him as captain, that's for sure.”