Ryder Cup: Captain’s role daunting, admits thrilled Padraig Harrington

Ross Houston
January 11, 2019

Padraig Harrington has been confirmed as Europe's captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Harrington, who will lead Europe at Whistling Straits in two years' time, says McIlroy will be fully behind Europe's efforts to successfully defend the trophy he helped win in France last year.

The 47-year-old is well aware of the damage a Ryder Cup loss can do to a captain's reputation, having played under six-time major victor Sir Nick Faldo in Europe's defeat at Valhalla in 2008.

Harrington follows Jose Maria Olazabal (2012), Paul McGinley (2014), Darren Clarke (2016) and Thomas Bjorn (2018) as recent captains of the European Ryder Cup squad.

Harrington has served as a vice captain in each of the last three Ryder Cups, and he became the front-runner for the job once Lee Westwood took his name out of consideration late a year ago.

"There seems to be a natural progression, " Harrington said during a news conference at European Tour headquarters near London.

The Irishman said: 'Obviously I'm thrilled to be named as Ryder Cup captain for 2020, it's not something I went into lightly.

"He has done three vice-captaincies and I think he's ready for this job". Winning this event on foreign soil is, as recent scorelines at both Hazeltine and Le Golf National prove, perhaps the most hard task in the game, and Harrington recognises that it will, in his words, "put my legacy on the line".

"It's close on 18 months to go, it really is a full-time job, the Ryder Cup, trying to get everything in preparation", Harrington added. Not only did he compete as a player six times and earn 10.5 points (he was on the winning side in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010), but he has served as a Vice Captain in the last three contests, of which Europe have won twice.

Harrington has a storied Ryder Cup career, having represented Europe six times as a player - including being part of four triumphs. Their confidence in me I feel will be well placed.

"But I don't put myself under the same pressure, I don't worry about it so much". You go out there and win and you're a successful captain; you lose, you're not. I strongly looked at the fact that we are going to a golf course that is at least European style.

The captain has so much more to think about, and the assistant captains play a big part in the decision-making process. They want to see what I have to give, which is nice. Even mentioning a cup of coffee has been known to tip him into angst about how best to make one.

The U.S.is expected to counter with Steve Stricker as its captain when they announce later this year.

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