Rory McIlroy had to look aside for the first time in his Ryder Cup career as Europe tried to close a four-point deficit at Whistling Straits.
McIlroy had played 26 straight games since making his debut at Celtic Manor in 2010, but lost twice on Matchday 1 – alongside Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry – without even reaching the 16th hole.
So it was no real surprise to see the quadruple major winner excluded from the quartets on Saturday, with Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia being sent off again after their victory on Friday.
The Spanish pair were drawn to face Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka, with Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa and rookies Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger taking on Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in Game 3.
Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, who lost their four-way game on Friday, faced Patrick Cantlay and Xander Sc Chaudele in Game 4.
Speaking of McIlroy after submitting his pairs but before announcing them publicly, Harrington said: “You saw him there after a hard day, he was following these games and supporting his team.
“He truly is a leader among his peers and I couldn’t have asked for more from him during the year, I couldn’t have asked for more from him on Friday.
“Yes, golf hasn’t gone as well as it would have liked, but I don’t question it for a second in terms of leadership and what it does for my team.”
Harrington admitted his team were ready for a tough weekend and would likely have to slowly reduce the United States’ four-point advantage.
“You can’t just turn around and try to take a lead right away in one sitting,” said Harrington. “It would be nice if that happened, but you can’t think of it like that. You have to do it slowly, one step at a time.
“We have 20 points to play and we have to prepare for a long battle, hopefully. If we are to get there, it will be very close.”
US captain Steve Stricker insisted he didn’t take anything for granted, saying: “It’s a good start. We’re very happy with the start. But my message to the guys is that Saturday is a new day.
“Let’s just go out and try to win that first session again in the morning and pretend Friday never happened. Let’s keep our foot down and continue playing the golf we know we can play.
“We’ve had things that have happened that bit us from the back in other Ryder Cups so these guys know that and they’re focused on coming out strong again.”