‘My neck’s on the line’: Padraig Harrington named as Europe’s captain for 2020 Ryder Cup

PADRAIG Harrington has been named as European captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup.

The Dubliner will lead the charge in defending the prestigious trophy at Whistling Straits next year.

 European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington during the Team Europe Ryder Cup Press Conference at Wentworth today

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European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington during the Team Europe Ryder Cup Press Conference at Wentworth today

The three-time Major winner said he had to think long and hard about accepting the job, because a defeat in Wisconsin next September could taint his career.

Harrington explained: “You are putting a successful career on the line as a Ryder Cup captain, because it’s a very different element to being one-dimensional about your own game and what you want to accomplish.

“A winning captain is great, and if you are a losing captain it’s your fault.

"So I am putting my neck on the line a bit.

 Padraig Harrington is a veteran of six Ryder Cups as a player

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Padraig Harrington is a veteran of six Ryder Cups as a player

“You want to do a good job, to find an edge that allows you to get the best out of the players, and to leave the Ryder Cup and European golf in a good place.

"Thomas Bjorn achieved all that and more with our win four months ago, and I’m under no illusions that being captain of Europe in the USA is a more difficult task.

“That part of the job is pretty daunting, but having decided to take it I’m very excited by the challenge."

The popular Irishman has been a vice-captain in each of the last three tournaments.

He made six appearances in the competition as a player, four of which resulted in victories for Europe – 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.

He will now succeed Thomas Bjorn who led Europe to a seven-point win at Le Golf National last year.

Bjorn was part of the European Tour committee alongside Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley who selected 47-year-old Harrington.

 The Dubliner has four Ryder Cup victories to his name

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The Dubliner has four Ryder Cup victories to his name

Harrington said: “I played in six Ryder Cups, four of them on winning teams, and I’ve been vice captain for the last three, so I guess this is a natural progression.

“It just feels like the tight place and the right time for me to do it, and hopefully I can do the right things at the right time during my term as captain.”

Harrington has been inundated with congratulations from Europe’s top players as well as past captains and vice captains.

He added: “I think as someone who has played and won in America I’m pretty well known in the USA, so I’d say I have the right profile to take no the job over there.

 Padraig Harrington and his wife Caroline with the trophy

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Padraig Harrington and his wife Caroline with the trophy
 Padraig Harrington celebrates winning the 2002 Ryder Cup with his pal Paul McGinley

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Padraig Harrington celebrates winning the 2002 Ryder Cup with his pal Paul McGinley

“Everything has lined up for me to do the job now, but I didn’t want to do it just because it seemed the next thing on a career path.

"I want it because I think I’m the right man for the job, and that was the most important thing.

“I’ve played under nine different captains, and I think I Iearned something from all of them.

"That started with Sam Torrance and Ian Woosnam, who were the kind who would put their arm around your shoulder and make you feel good about yourself.

“Then there was Bernhard Langer, who was more of a school teacher type, and I suspect I’ll be that kind of captain too, because I’m a similar kind of personality.

“I’m not all fuzzy and cuddly, but what I will be is methodical and dedicated to this job for the 20 months until the next match.”

Harrington was a heavy-favourite to be named as captain ahead of the announcement as Lee Westwood essentially ruled himself out of the running.

Westwood previously said he would rather lead Europe at home in 2022.

PADRAIG Harrington has been named as European captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup.