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Ryder Cup 2020: Five contenders for US captaincy

11 January 2019
Ryder Cup 2020: Five contenders for US captaincy

Padraig Harrington barely raised a smile as he spoke for the first time as Europe's new Ryder Cup captain.

The three-times major victor had been the clear favourite to succeed Denmark's Thomas Bjorn for the defence at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, after having served as vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups.

Harrington follows Jose Maria Olazabal (2012), Paul McGinley (2014), Darren Clarke (2016) and Thomas Bjorn (2018) as recent captains of the European Ryder Cup squad.

"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. "I am not as stressed about everything that goes with it". I suppose you could look at this as being a natural progression, you move on from player to vice captain to captain. I think Thomas was blessed with the best team we've ever had in France.

"I think the standard of golf on the European Tour and the players we have on tour is going to ensure that".

"I want to find an edge to get the players to perform to best of their abilities and hopefully get a win". Not only did he compete as a player six times and earn 10.5 points (he was on the winning side in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010), but he has served as a Vice Captain in the last three contests, of which Europe have won twice.

Pavard played a key role in France's World Cup win at Russian Federation 2018 and reports of a move to Bayern have persisted since, although both parties have previously denied any agreement.

"Then it really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and put what is a successful career on the line".

Harrington, who won back-to-back British Opens in 2007 and 2008 before going on to win his third major at that year's PGA Championship, also played in six successive Ryder Cups from 1999 to 2010, helping Europe to four victories.

Irishman Harrington added: "I know there's words there, but the actions nowhere near match up. That's normally what we do and one of the reasons we've had success in the event is this elevation of vice captains into captains".

"He gets the glory, the opportunity to be loved on the golf course".

"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".

Couples captained the United States to three straight Presidents Cup triumphs from 2009 to 2013 and was a vice for the next two, but in 2017 he stated he felt his opportunity to oversee a Ryder Cup had "passed by". I know they want continuity. "You just have to know the man behind the scenes". Even mentioning a cup of coffee has been known to tip him into angst about how best to make one.