Harrington set for European 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Padraig Harrington will succeed Thomas Bjorn as European captain

Padraig Harrington will succeed Thomas Bjorn as European captain

"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 defense of the trophy".

Team Europe have dominated the Ryder Cup in recent years, winning nine of the last 12 biennial contests.

The three-time major victor is the clear favourite to succeed Thomas Bjorn at Whistling Straits, where Europe will be bidding to defend the trophy won in Paris previous year.

The Irishman was one of Bjorn's vice-captains at Le Golf National in September when Europe cruised to an emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory over the United States.

Europe's new captain Padraig Harrington has vast Ryder Cup experience and is "highly respected by all", according to his predecessor Thomas Bjorn.

"It's something I did think long and hard about", Harrington said during a press conference at the European Tour's headquarters at Wentworth.

"Obviously I'm thrilled", said the three-time major victor.

'You could look at this as being a natural progression from player to vice-captain to captain but it's not something I take on without a certain amount of trepidation.

"It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players", Harrington added.

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

Couples captained the USA 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".

"The first few days of the Ryder Cup there's four different arenas going on at the same time and you really need one pair eyes focused on [all of it], so the values of the vice-captain are going to be very important to him". He loves the Ryder Cup.

The victor of The Open in 2007 at Carnoustie, The Open in 2008 at Royal Birkdale and the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, Harrington went 9-13-3 in six consecutive appearances for Europe from 1999 through 2010, playing on four winning teams.

Harrington described the captaincy as a "daunting task", admitting that he did some soul-searching to determine whether this was the right time to take the helm in the twilight of a standout career inside the ropes.

"I know we're going to a new venue, it's an away match, we're going to have on average three more rookies coming in to the team".

Asked if he would be willing to do something similar, Harrington replied with a smile: "You know, we're all about continuity on the European Tour".

Harrington said he knew what his goal would be over the next two years with respect to the players. As a player you are very one-dimensional about doing your thing and getting on with performing.

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