Padraig Harrington has been confirmed as the European Ryder Cup Captain for the 2020 contest at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin from the 25th to 27th September.
Padraig Harrington said he was 'thrilled' to be officially announced as the next Captain of the 2020 European Ryder Cup team, but insisted it was not a decision he took lightly.
"Obviously I'm thrilled to be named the Ryder Cup Captain for 2020," Harrington said at the press conference announcing the Captaincy on Tuesday.
"It's not something I went in to lightly. I suppose you could look at this as being a natural progression, you move on from player to Vice Captain to Captain, but it's not something I take on without a certain amount of trepidation.
"I really want to be a help, I want to hopefully lead the Ryder Cup and the European Tour in a better place after two years, but I know we want continuity in Europe, we want to keep moving on.
"We're going to a new venue, it's an away match, we're going to have on average 3 more rookies coming in to the team, and I have to be a part of that team and ensure that I find an edge to help the team perform to the best of their abilities to get the most out of them and hopefully get a win.
"Having been a player, having won three majors I've done a lot in my own personal career but I know taking on the Ryder Cup captaincy is a different thing, its a different level, and it's something I have to be really conscious that I have to find that edge and add to it and that's something I don't take lightly. It's going to take a great deal of my time over the next 18 months figuring out how can I make our team play to the best of their ability."
Harrington was chosen as Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent European Ryder Cup Captains – Bjørn, Clarke and McGinley – as well as the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, and European Tour Tournament Committee representative Edoardo Molinari.
"I'm excited with the whole idea, I hope I can add something to it," added Harrington. "We've had some great captains over the past number of years. 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 amazing the difference.
"As a player you're very one dimensional about doing your thing and as a vice captain you do a lot more. It is daunting because you want to do a good job, add to the Ryder cup and Thomas has left it in a very strong place. He did a great job, and all the Captain's I've played under or was Vice Captain I've learnt from every one of them, and I will try and bring that all together. Hopefully I will pull it all together and say the right things at the right time, get a team, get the best out of that team and get a winning performance."
The three-time major champion was widely tipped to take over from Thomas Bjorn after making it clear he wanted the job in October, and became the favourite after Lee Westwood took himself out of the running.
Harrington has a wealth of experience when it comes to the Ryder Cup. 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.
The 47-year-old Irishman said he felt that the post would fit ‘really well’ for him back in October, having been an integral part of the team room for the past three years and has a lot of course experience, having played at the Wisconsin course for the US PGA Championships of 2004, 2010 and 2015.
"There seems to be a natural progression at the moment," Harrington said of the European Ryder Cup selection process for Captains. "I seem to be the right time and place for me in my career and in the Ryder Cup profile of other players and whose turn it is, but just because it seems like it is my turn it's not something I walked in to and said yeah it's my turn I should do it.
"It's something I did think long and hard about, was it right and it's possibly easier to be a Ryder Cup Captain at home but I realised it was good timing in my career but I also realised it probably was the best chance for the team in an international setting going to the U.S having me as their captain at this time.
"I felt it was the right time for me to go for it and when you talk to the other players I certainly have their support and when I talk to the vice captains and potential captains going forward it seemed to fit very nicely that I go and do the away match.
"Then it really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and put what is a successful career on the line, because you are putting it on the line when you become the Ryder Cup captain, it is a different element to your career. We know a successful captain is great and a losing captain it's his fault, so I am putting something on the line going out there and once I decided I wanted to take that chance it was just making sure the European Tour and the PGA Tour thought I was the right man too."
As he alluded to, Harrington had gained the support of several Ryder Cup players past and present prior to the announcement, including Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn and Lee Westwood.
Westwood had called Harrington "the ideal candidate for the captaincy", while McIlroy had said "Padraig Harrington would be a great captain in the US because of his playing record, which includes winning the USPGA, and because everyone over there likes him."
Steve Stricker is expected to be named the Captain for the 2020 USA side, and Harrington previously said thinks he will be a 'nice' Captain, but says he is not to be underestimated.
"Steve's a solid bloke," Harrington had said in October. "Good guy. Tough. Not a man to underestimate.
"You know when you're going up against a guy like that that he is mentally tough and strong.
"I think Steve will be a nice Ryder Cup captain. He's the guy you want to play. He's tough but very straight. He's as straight as they come.
"You know you've got a game when you're playing against him. But there's no messing from his side."
Future Ryder Cup Contests
The following venues have been confirmed for future Ryder Cups
2020 Whistling Straits, Straits Course (Haven, Wisconsin)
2022 Marco Simone Golf and Country Club (Guidonia Montecelio, Rome, Italy)
2024 Bethpage State Park, Black Course (Farmingdale, New York)
2028 Hazeltine National Golf Club (Chaska, Minnesota)
2032 The Olympic Club, Lake Course (San Francisco, California)
2036 Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, Maryland)