Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Padraig Harrington unveiled as European Ryder Cup captain for 2020

Padraig Harrington unveiled as European Ryder Cup captain for 2020

Padraig Harrington is the best man for the "monumental challenge" of retaining the Ryder Cup on American soil that Europe will face next year, according to Paul McGinley. We've had some great captains and I've learnt from all of them.

Harrington played at Whistling Straits in the PGA Championships held at the course in 2004, 2010, and 2015, missing the cut on the two most recent occasions.

"It is a tremendous honour to be named Ryder Cup Captain and I am relishing the next 20 months as we work towards Whistling Straits and Europe's defence of the trophy", said Harrington. The PGA of America removed much of the rough at Medinah and Hazeltine to suit the American players, and I expect to see more of the same in Wisconsin.

He knows what it takes to win having been part of the triumphant 1999 team at Brookline, but 2020 may come too soon for the former world No. 1 and 2001 Open Championship victor.

Harrington did not pretend that his appointment had come as a surprise, given that he is an experienced hand on the Wisconsin course, which hosts the Cup from Sept 25-27 next year. The only American player to tee up in the French Open at the same venue a year ago - Justin Thomas - was unsurprisingly the top points scorer for Jim Furyk's side, and that was telling.

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Harrington, the third Irish captain of the Europe team in the last four stagings of the match, said he had a busy 18 months ahead and meant to make his captaincy a mix of all those he had served under. Paul is a fastidious, meticulous, incremental thinker and everything he does is super-organised. He will be 100 percent behind and in that Ryder Cup team, there's no doubt about it. He raised the bar, created the blueprint for future captains.

The 47-year-old has not won a European Tour title since his Portugal Masters triumph in 2016 but came close at the Czech Masters last August, finishing second in what was his best performance of the season.

Harrington has been a vice-captain himself for the last three contests, as well as playing six times since making his debut at Brookline in 1999.

"But it is daunting because you want to do a good job". You're looking after the players rather than being looked after, and you get an invaluable guide into what needs to be done to be a successful Ryder Cup skipper.

"He has done three vice-captaincies and I think he's ready for this job".

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The Dubliner will lead Europe against the United States of America at Whistling Straits next year. Yet, for all that, it remains a captivating spectacle that, history tells us, can derange even the most temperate of golf minds.

"I am excited by the whole idea". He's a good guy, well respected, and he's already enjoyed success as a team captain in the Presidents Cup.

He was the first American to top the official world golf rankings in 1992 and was a two-time victor of the Ryder Cup as a player; featuring as a vice-captain in the 2012 edition took his total involvements to six. He loves the Ryder Cup. I am putting something on the line going out there.

"I felt it was the right time for me to go for it and when you talk to the other players I certainly have their support and when I talk to the vice captains and potential captains going forward it seemed to fit very nicely that I go and do the away match".

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