The Europeans officially have a new Ryder Cup team captain: Padraig Harrington.
The 47-year-old Irishman was named to the position Tuesday at the European Tour headquarters in Wentworth, England. The Europeans will be looking to defend their 2018 title when they visit Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2020. Harrington is now the third Irishman to hold that position this decade, following Paul McGinley in 2014 and Darren Clarke in 2016.
“I have played under many wonderful European captains since I made my debut 20 years ago,” Harrington said. “I would like to think that my captaincy will be a mix of all of them.”
The three-time major champion has served as vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups (two of them European victories) and appeared in the event six times as a player. He won four Ryder Cups during his playing days, with his first victory coming in 2002 at The Belfry in England. Most American fans have committed it to memory by this time, but the Europeans have dominated the Ryder Cup over the last quarter-century, having won nine of the last 12 biennial events.
Oh captain, our captain….#TeamEurope #Harrington2020 pic.twitter.com/xKQpby353C
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) January 8, 2019
Harrington emerged as the favorite for the position after Lee Westwood declared his interest in serving as captain when the event visits Rome in 2022. The selection was made by a panel that includes three previous Ryder Cup captains, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, European Tour CEO Keith Pelley, and a member of the Tour’s Players Committee.
The biggest asset Harrington brings as a captain? It could be his knowledge and experience of the course, where Harrington played three PGA Championships. He also continues to play a busy worldwide schedule, in which he will surely see many potential players on the professional golf landscape. In all, Harrington’s career speaks for itself. He’s won six times on the PGA Tour and 15 times on the European Tour, with a dominant three-major stretch in the mid-2000s.