Saturday, 19 January, 2019

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

Harrington was a vice captain under Thomas Bjorn when Europe won the Ryder Cup in September Harrington was a vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn when Europe won the Ryder Cup in September
Rita Gibson | 11 January, 2019, 05:13

Irish golfer Padraig Harrington has been confirmed as Ryder Cup captain for Team Europe ahead of the tournament next year.

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 three-times major victor had been the clear favourite to succeed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn for the defence at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, after having served as vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups.

The three-time major victor succeeds Dane Thomas Bjorn and becomes just the second golfer from the Republic of Ireland to take the reins for the tournament after Paul McGinley, who was victorious in 2014.

Like Harrington, Stricker has been a three-time Ryder Cup vice-captain and with Harrington is confident Sticker will be a formidable opponent in 2020.

He said: "I felt it was the right time for me to go for it". "I don't think I ever thought I wasn't going to do it, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons".

"As I would have seen, Paul's went very well, he was very organised and it really did go smoothly". I want to hopefully leave the Ryder Cup and the European Tour in a better place after two years. "It's something I will take on over the next 18 months". Cynics might suggest that captains choose their vice-captains simply based on who their friends are, but Harrington appears to appreciate the mix of characters required in the European team room.

Team Europe have dominated the Ryder Cup in recent years, winning nine of the last 12 biennial contests.

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Harrington played in six consecutive Ryder Cups from 1999 to 2010 and was on the winning team four times.

"There seems to be a natural progression at the moment", Harrington said of the European Ryder Cup selection process for Captains.

"But I don't put myself under the same pressure, I don't worry about it so much".

'It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players, ' Harrington added.

"The second thing is the golf course that we're playing on is a European style golf course, it's a golf course that really suits the European style".

"But I also played under Bernhard Langer, who was like a school teacher". I think Padraig will be blessed with an even better team.

Steve Stricker is expected to be named the Captain for the 2020 U.S. side, and Harrington previously said thinks he will be a "nice" Captain, but says he is not to be underestimated.

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