Pádraig Harrington says Shane Lowry is a 'strong contender' to make this year's European Ryder Cup team.
However, the team captain said there are around a half dozen experienced golfers - along with rookies - in the running for the three captain's 'wild card' slots on his team.
This year's tournament takes place in Wisconsin in September, after being postponed from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As qualification continues, the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy look set to automatically earn one of nine places on the team as they lead in both World and European Points.
However, Shane Lowry is currently falling short of qualification on both points leaderboards.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Pádraig Harrington explained that nine players get in automatically based on how they play in the run-up to the tournament.
He'll then pick the final three golfers.
He said: "The nine are very tight at this stage. The three wild cards are the ones that are up for grabs - there are probably half a dozen experienced players, and then a couple of rookies.
"Shane Lowry, from an Irish context... he would be a strong contender for one of those three spots. But there are probably half a dozen guys looking for them, so it could be tough right at the end."
However, he said his dilemma is 'a lot simpler' than the six picks US captain Steve Stricker will have to make.
He said he's hopeful there'll be consensus around at least one or two of his three picks by the time the final decision rolls around, and therefore he'll only have to make a 'hard choice' when it comes to one of the picks.
Ryder Cup crowds
Pádraig said it's also looking like a crowd will be able to attend the tournament at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
However, he said the attendance of European fans will all depend on US travel rules.
He said: “They’ve had crowds at football games here already, so I think there’ll be a pretty decent-sized crowd - mostly made up of US and maybe Europeans living in the US.
“It’s full steam ahead at this stage - obviously things can change, but at the moment it’s planning for a full, normal-as-possible Ryder Cup.”
Pádraig himself contracted COVID-19 during his first week in the States, after he travelled over to attend the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
He said: “I had no symptoms [when I got the test], but they told me I had a high viral load. The following day, the symptoms started coming on.
“I got a pretty mild version, and I had to quarantine for ten days - as is the rule in the States."
Pádraig doesn't know how exactly he got the virus, although suggested the US isn't 'the Wild West' it's sometimes portrayed as when it comes to coronavirus.
He said: "The US is kind of like what Ireland was in the middle of the summer - everybody’s wearing masks, but they are out and about."