Bjorn: Ryder Cup captain Harrington ‘highly respected by all’

Padraig Harrington and Des Smyth at the Irish Open in 2015

Ireland's Padraig Harrington has today been named as the captain of Europe's team for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Speaking at a press conference following the announcement, Harrington expressed his delight at the news.

Harrington, 47, a three-time major victor who played on six European teams, takes over for Thomas Bjorn, who oversaw a rousing success in France in September when Europe defeated the Americans 16½ to 9½, a seventh victory in the last 10 Ryder Cups.

Harrington played in six consecutive Ryder Cups from 1999 to 2010 and was on the winning team four times.

Despite his anxieties, the Ryder Cup has adorned European trophy cabinets more often than American ones since the tournament was revamped in 1979.

"It's not something I went into lightly", he said. "I've actually learned a lot more as vice-captain than you do as a player".

"I have had a successful career, and you want to always be successful in the golfing sphere because of what I've done", he said.

"I have to be a part of that team and ensure I find an edge to ensure the team perform to their best".

Following Europe's demolition of the United States in France a year ago, Harrington had been viewed as the only candidate to preside over a defence.

He spent countless hours analysing all manner of statistics for his own team as well as the opposition, and he took Ryder Cup captaincy to a new level.

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"I think it will mean a lot, it's a great honour for him", two-time Ryder Cup player Des Smyth told RTÉ Sport.

Harrington is known to have been a popular choice among the team that stormed to victory in Paris past year.

Harrington has a wealth of experience when it comes to the Ryder Cup.

"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".

Harrington was an assistant captain in 2014, 2016 and 2018. "But it's not something that I take on without a certain amount of trepidation".

With memorabilia such as replica trophies and some of Harrington's equipment, it will become even more popular if he can bring home the coveted Ryder Cup trophy.

"I have reached the stage in my career where I enjoy playing golf", Harrington said.

"It is daunting because you want to do a good job".

"He has done three vice-captaincies and I think he's ready for this job". "Good guy. Tough. Not a man to underestimate". I am putting something on the line going out there.

"He is as European as they come".

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