Padraig Harrington named Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain

Padraig Harrington named Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain

Yet Harrington knows too that Europe will be facing a wounded animal at Whistling Straits.

Padraig Harrington says he "thought long and hard" about taking the Ryder Cup captaincy for 2020 on United States soil but believes it has come at the right time. "The current players who are going to play under me have been very supportive".

He won The Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, and the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) Championship in 2008. The only American player to tee up in the French Open at the same venue previous year - Justin Thomas - was unsurprisingly the top points scorer for Jim Furyk's side, and that was telling. Paul is a fastidious, meticulous, incremental thinker and everything he does is super-organised. While the US captain for 2020 has not yet been announced, 2017 Presidents Cup captain and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker is perceived as the favorite to lead the American squad in his home state. He raised the bar, created the blueprint for future captains.

Despite considerable European success, Harrington said 2020 is a new match, a new venue, and the pressure to continue Europe's winning ways is real.

Team USA has won just one of the past five editions of the competition and fell to a resounding 17.5-10.5 defeat at Le Golf National last September. He won't be. Nick Faldo was, arguably, the worst Ryder Cup captain in history at Valhalla in 2008, but a six-time Major victor doesn't lose that status on the back of a hard week in a team room. The most important job a Ryder captain faces is to be liked and trusted by his players.

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Harrington became the favourite after Lee Westwood, the other main candidate, indicated a preference to do the job in Rome in 2022. 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 questioned whether he would find the "edge" needed to lift Europe to a win over what will be a strong American team at Whistling Straits in 2020. "We know both sides are bringing in statisticians to help settle the golf course".

"I am excited by the whole idea". Even mentioning a cup of coffee has been known to tip him into angst about how best to make one. "Good guy. Tough. Not a man to underestimate".

"I'm really conscious that I have to find the edge and add to it". I felt it was the right time for me to go for it.

"You can't do everything as a captain, your very much defined by the quality of your vice-captains and you have to rely on them a lot". His actions are all about the Ryder Cup. He won't want to change a winning formula, he knows what works and - perhaps more importantly - what doesn't work, and he'll stick with that.

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