Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Harrington named Europe's Ryder Cup capt

Padraig Harrington and Des Smyth at the Irish Open in 2015 Padraig Harrington and Des Smyth at the Irish Open in 2015
Cassandra Castillo | 11 January, 2019, 00:33

"We've had some great captains over the past number of years".

Harrington, who has won three majors and played in six successive Ryder Cups from 1999 to 2010, was a vice-captain when Europe took back the cup under Thomas Bjorn at Paris's Le Golf National previous year.

Harrington played Whistling Straits in PGA Championships there in 2004, '10, and '15.

He said: "I felt it was the right time for me to go for it. A losing captain, it's his fault".

Things are not always going to go your way during a Ryder Cup, and it's important to have a captain who is wise enough to avoid stamping his own authority on the week.

"You don't get that day in, day out". "The current players who are going to play under me have been very supportive". This is not like being a football manager where I lose this week, I play next week and if I get the sack, I'll get another team.

It is unrealistic to expect every pairing to produce results at a Ryder Cup, but Bjorn certainly enjoyed more hits than misses in the north of France. "You get one and done".

The Irishman has served as a vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups while being on the winning team four times.

It could be the polar opposite of the set-up we saw at Le Golf National, where the European team's superior course management was a key factor in their handsome win.

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He succeeds Thomas Bjorn as captain for next year's contest at Whistling Straits, where Europe will be bidding to defend the trophy won in convincing fashion in Paris in September.

"I want to be a winning captain".

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.

"I strongly looked at the fact we were going to a golf course that is at least European-style". I know it's an uphill struggle to beat the U.S.in the US but these are good golf courses.

Harrington has been encouraged by what he said was the "unanimous" support of Europe's players.

He became a near-certainty when Lee Westwood announced he did not want to be considered for the role, preferring to target Italy in 2022. 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.

"Players are interested in being under me as a captain".

"I think what they are really saying is that they liked what they saw and they would like a continuation of what they have seen and not to rock the boat too much".

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