Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington has revealed the Covid envelope "captains' agreement" that is in place ahead of the 2021 Ryder Cup with Team USA.
Harrington confirmed during his latest press conference that there will be a "Covid envelope" used at the 43rd edition of the famous team event, in case a player is ruled out of a crucial singles match on Sunday due to contracting coronavirus.
As a result of the precaution, a back-up player will be allowed to replace the individual that has contracted Covid-19, as Harrington explained to the media.
Ryder Cup
Harrington defends selection as he benches McIlroy for Saturday foursomes
25/09/2021 AT 09:33
"Yes, there are lots of protocols," Harrington said. "I assume the captains' agreement is public, is it?
So just like there is an injury name in the envelope, there is a Covid name in the envelope.
"It is still... well, we have asked - it is still not completely clear what happens if, god forbid, we had a Covid outbreak of a number of players. But, for one player, it is pretty straightforward.
"Obviously, the first two days [Friday and Saturday], four players sit out [from competing]. I am sure there are no issues on those two days. But obviously, on Sunday, if you start losing a few players to Covid, it does affect the match in some way. But one (additional name) is in a COVID envelope for sure.
"This is why we have the Covid protocols. It is not like it is an individual event where, if you lost a player in an individual event - while it is not great, certainly you do not want to be catching Covid - [but the event can go on, whereas] in a team environment, you do not want a number of people catching Covid because it affects the actual match.
"So this is certainly something that I am sure is causing a lot of thought, and a lot of time thinking about what would be too many [positive cases of Covid] and what would be sustainable. But, again, it is not really for the captains [to decide]. It is more for the running of the event."
Regarding his Team Europe selections for the fourballs and foursomes sessions, Harrington admitted that he is unlikely to make any spur of the moment decisions.
"Some people play well in practice, some people do not play well in practice," he explained. "You cannot pick guys after three years and expect the practice rounds to determine what goes on, on the Friday. So, no, I am not a great believer in judging people off a couple of relaxed days' practice.
"So, no, my picks are definitely based on the right partnerships - what we would have had in mind, but narrow it down now. And, as we have got here [at Whistling Straits], narrow it down even further. So I would not think a lot is changing in my head and my vice-captain's head between now and Friday, no."

‘One of the best days!’ - McIlroy wants to experience another Ryder Cup road win

Our view

An "envelope rule" has actually been employed at the Ryder Cup for the last 40 years, which comes into force if a player gets injured and is unable to compete in a key singles match during the decisive Sunday session.
As such, both captains write down the name of a back-up player in an envelope prior to the start of the final singles session. The envelope only gets opened if it is required in an emergency - otherwise it gets destroyed.
The difference at the 2019 edition of the event is that there will not only be a name in the envelope in case of injury, but also another in case of a withdrawal due to a player contracting Covid-19.
Ryder Cup
USA and Europe reveal opening foursomes pairings at 2021 Ryder Cup
24/09/2021 AT 07:55
Ryder Cup
Why Harrington is a marked man at the Ryder Cup – win or lose
23/09/2021 AT 09:07