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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 January 2019

Padraig Harrington ready to risk it all after being named Europe's 2020 Ryder Cup captain

Irishman succeeds Thomas Bjorn and will lead the team against the United States at Whistling Straits

Padraig Harrington was recently named Europe's captain for the 2020 Ruder Cup. AP Photo
Padraig Harrington was recently named Europe's captain for the 2020 Ruder Cup. AP Photo

Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington believes he is putting his career on the line by taking on the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2020.

Harrington won the British Open in 2007 and successfully defended the title the following year, before winning the US PGA Championship just three weeks later.

However, the 47-year-old Irishman is well aware of the damage a Ryder Cup defeat can do to a captain's reputation having played under six-time major winner Nick Faldo in Europe's defeat at Valhalla in 2008.

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

"It's possibly easier to be Ryder Cup captain at home, but I realise it was good timing in my career and probably the best chance for the team in an international setting, going to the US having me as captain at this time.

"Then it really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and put what is a successful career on the line. I'm well aware that it's win or nothing, that's the way it goes. When you're a Ryder Cup captain, you're putting the history of your game - your legacy - on the line."

Harrington has served as a vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups and appeared in the biennial contest against the United States six times as a player, beginning at Brookline in 1999. He was on the winning team in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.

He succeeds Thomas Bjorn as captain for next year's contest at Whistling Straits, where Europe will be bidding to defend the trophy won in convincing fashion in Paris in September.

Harrington was a popular choice among Europe's victorious team to take on the captaincy and became a near-certainty when Lee Westwood announced he did not want to be considered for the role, preferring to target Italy in 2022.

"It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players," Harrington added. "There's no doubt I'm excited with the whole idea. We've had some great captains and I've learnt from all of them.

"But it is daunting because you want to do a good job. Thomas has left it in a very strong place.

"I will try and bring that all together and hopefully say the right things at the right time and get the best out of that team that provides a winning performance."

Updated: January 8, 2019 06:43 PM

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