Bjorn: Ryder Cup captain Harrington ‘highly respected by all’
11 January, 2019, 13:19 | Author: Suzanne Horton
Ireland's Padraig Harrington is expected to be named captain of the European 2020 Ryder Cup team at a European Tour news conference at Wentworth on Tuesday. 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".
The Irishman was one of Bjorn's vice-captains at Le Golf National in September when Europe cruised to an emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States.
"I was certainly thinking and considering it", he said, when asked if he contemplated turning the offer down. And I don't take it lightly.
"We know when you're a successful Ryder Cup captain it's great and a losing captain - it's his fault".
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.
The three-times major victor had been the clear favourite to succeed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn for the next tournament at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, having served as vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups.
Harrington becomes the third Irish captain out of the past four, following Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.
"And having been a vice-captain three times, I realise how much work is behind the scenes in being a captain".
"It really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and put what is a successful career, put it on the line". I suppose I've learnt from all of them, I've probably learnt a lot more as vice captain than you do as a player, it's awesome the difference.
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"I'm well aware that it's win or nothing, that's the way it goes".
"I am aware that I could have passed up on this and just kept on going as a nice tournament golfer".
The highlight of Harrington's playing career came in a 14-month span from 2007-08 during which he captured three majors, winning The Open in consecutive years at Carnoustie and Royal Birkdale and adding a PGA Championship title at Oakland Hills.
McGinley believes the selection of his vice-captains will be key to Harrington taking on that challenge successfully. Their confidence in me I feel will be well placed. It does make my job easier. His family's there. He wants to win the Masters and those words are coming out but his actions are not that way at all.
But after missing out on automatic qualification for the first time in ten years, a few eyebrows were raised when Montgomerie, a previous Ryder Cup partner, chose him as the final pick for his 12-man side for Wales. "It seems to be the right time and place for me in my career". "I am not as stressed about everything that goes with it".
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