Harrington chosen as Europe's Ryder Cup skipper

11 January, 2019, 13:18 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Padraig Harrington and Des Smyth at the Irish Open in 2015

Ireland's Padraig Harrington will captain Europe at the 2020 Ryder Cup with pride and some trepidation after being appointed on Tuesday, less than four months after helping the team to a crushing victory over the United States in Paris.

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

After four years as a professional, and with a sole European Tour win under his belt, Harrington qualified for his first Ryder Cup in 1999 and contributed a respectable 1.5 points from three matches at Brookline.

Harrington, who is still playing, has won two Open titles and the USPGA Championship but believes he is putting his career "on the line" as a Ryder Cup captain.

Padraig Harrington says he "thought long and hard" about taking the Ryder Cup captaincy for 2020 on USA soil but believes it has come at the right time.

"I want to find an edge to get the players to perform to best of their abilities and hopefully get a win".

I know we want continuity in Europe.

"We're going to a new venue, it's an away match, and we're going to have on average three more rookies coming into the team", he added.

The three-time major victor is the clear favourite to succeed Thomas Bjorn at Whistling Straits, where Europe will be bidding to defend the trophy won in Paris a year ago. He will be 100 percent behind and in that Ryder Cup team, there's no doubt about it.

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I think it's fair to describe the appointment of Harrington as a no-brainer.

Word in the media tent was that Thomas Bjorn had made obvious a desire for his vice-captains to steer clear of casual interaction with anyone outside Europe's team room.

"And having been a vice-captain three times, I realise how much work is behind the scenes in being a captain".

"You can't do everything as a captain, your very much defined by the quality of your vice-captains and you have to rely on them a lot".

"We know when you're a successful Ryder Cup captain it's great and a losing captain - it's his fault". I felt it was the right time for me to go for it.

"Steve's a solid bloke", Harrington had said in October.

"I'm the right man for the job at this time", he said. "Good guy. Tough. Not a man to underestimate".

"You know you've got a game when you're playing against him". I'm sure there's going to be a certain edge to it but look it's a big strong golf course and we should all know what we are getting. When you're a player, you are exclusively concerned with your ability to perform on the biggest stage of all and trying to get your game in optimum shape. "But there's no messing from his side".

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