European captain Padraig Harrington says it would make things easier for him if Lee Westwood, who will be teeing it up at this week’s Honda Classic, qualifies automatically for the 2021 Ryder Cup (USA 8/11, Europe 6/4, Tie 10/1 – Outright Winner).

Despite turning 48 next month, Westwood is still managing to put himself in contention for victories on the biggest stage and he has suffered two near-misses over the last two weeks, finishing second at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and then The Players Championship.

The Worksop-born star is now 19th in the world rankings, a position he hasn’t been in since 2013, and his longevity in the sport is fantastic to see as he continues to outdo several of the younger players on tour.

With the Ryder Cup taking place at Whistling Straits from September 24-26, there has been talk about whether the Englishman will match Nick Faldo’s European record of appearing in 11 editions of the biennial event.

As things stand, Westwood would automatically qualify for Team Europe via the world points list and Harrington, who will be skippering the side Stateside, says the form of the 25-time European Tour winner is a big bonus.

“You’d love to have experienced guys who are playing well,” the Irishman told Sky Sports. “You can’t just have an experienced guy for the sake of it. You want an experienced guy playing well, and it’s great to see Lee is playing well.

“Obviously Lee playing his way in frees up another spot for a pick, which would help some of the senior guys because I do have a number of senior players who are unlikely to make the team automatically. So everything about Lee playing well is a bonus for me.”

Westwood, who admitted age caught up with him during the final round of The Players Championship last Sunday, will be competing in the Honda Classic, which starts on Thursday, and he is 20/1 to claim the spoils.

Harrington (150/1) is also teeing it up in the tournament and he will be playing alongside J.J. Spaun (200/1) and Sam Ryder (200/1) over the opening 36 holes.

Whenever you bet on Golf, Betfred.