Padraig Harrington wary as Ryder Cup captaincy puts 'legacy on line'

Padraig Harrington wary as Ryder Cup captaincy puts 'legacy on line'

The Irishman was named captain of the Europe team for the 2020 competition at the Whistling Straits course in the American state of Wisconsin.

"He's a deep thinker, he's somewhat of a left-field thinker, I just watched his press conference and he talked about filling the role of vice-captain very carefully and I totally agree with that", McGinley said.

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.

The three-times major victor, 47, will become the third player from Ireland - after Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke - to captain Europe in just four Ryder Cups.

But Harrington, who was named European captain on Tuesday, is confident McIlroy will be available for selection in Whistling Straights next year as his team attempt to defend the trophy won in Paris in September.

"I have played under many wonderful European captains since I made my debut 20 years ago and I would like to think that my captaincy will be a mix of all of them", Harrington told reporters.

"I really want to be a help, hopefully leave the Ryder Cup and European Tour in a better place".

"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".

Referring to Europe's thumping 17.5-10.5 win over a star-studded United States team outside Paris in September, he added: "Ideally, we would play this match tomorrow with the same 12 guys". A Ryder Cup captain's job is, essentially, to rewire that mindset.

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"I'm excited with the whole idea, I hope I can add something to it", added Harrington.

Justin Rose, who was part of Bjorn's victorious team in France, was among those who also offered their congratulations, along with one of Harrington's ex-Ryder Cup colleagues Luke Donald. He loves the Ryder 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.

Harrington described the captaincy as a "daunting task", admitting that he did some soul-searching to determine whether this was the right time to take the helm in the twilight of a standout career inside the ropes.

"He's the right man at the right time in his career". "Good guy. Tough. Not a man to underestimate".

"It's going to take a great deal of my time over the next two years to do it". "But it's not something that I take on without a certain amount of trepidation".

"He is as European as they come".

"You know you've got a game when you're playing against him. But there's no messing from his side".

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