Padraig Harrington, the bookmakers’ favourite, has confirmed that he is keen to succeed Thomas Bjorn as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for the 2020 match at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
The Irishman was one of Bjorn’s vice captains in last week’s win over the Americans at Le Golf National in Paris, having also filled the same role on two previous occasions in the biennial event.
Speaking at Carnoustie earlier in the year, Harrington hinted that the 2020 clash would be “good timing for me”, admitting that he wanted to be captain “sooner rather later”.
The three-time major winner has now made it clear that he is keen to lead Europe’s defence at Whistling Straits, with the door appearing to have been thrown open to him after Lee Westwood said he’s happy to wait until 2022.
“I honestly think it fits really well not only for me and for everybody that I seek the captaincy of the next European Ryder Cup team,” said Harrington, speaking at the Aldred Dunhill Links Championship.
“I know there is a committee who choose the next captain and they will go about the process of seeking nominees and then put those names to a vote, but I do believe the European Team would like continuity that’s for sure and that is why I will benefit.
“I have been a vice-captain now for the past three Ryder Cup’s and given the success of this recent team, I am sure they would be very happy to know that either myself or one of the other Versailles vice-captains, and that’s if any of those other vice-captains wish the job, would present the best chance of maintaining that continuity.
“I know from being with the team last week they like the whole structure of the support they receive from the captain and the vice-captains.
“What is clearly happening now is that the vice-captains are be groomed to be future captains and not so much as it was years ago of the vice-captains being ex-captains. So, it’s now a matter of picking vice-captains who they will want for future captains.”
Harrington is a fans’ favourite in the US and the next Ryder Cup is being staged on a course just a three-hour drive north of Chicago, where there is a large Irish-based community.
“I would like to think I am popular in the States and that would also make me a good captaincy candidate because of the venue being not too far from Chicago,” said Harrington. “So, yes I do have that aspect in my favour.”
The possibility of Harrington taking over from Bjorn and almost certainly be the man locking horns with Steve Stricker, who hails from Wisconsin, was welcomed by Tyrrell Hatton.
“Obviously he’s got plenty of experience and he’s a major winner,” said the Englishman, who enjoyed a winning Ryder Cup debut in France. “He’s won majors in the States – and he’s won on the PGA Tour, so he knows a lot about the golf and the golf courses over there.
“The main thing he would bring to the role is that experience. He was a great help to me last week. All the vice-captains were.
“They were great to talk to, always making sure we were all right. We had such a great team and the experienced guys made sure they came round to us rookies in the evening, had a little chat about the following day.
“It was just a great vibe in there. It was my first taste of it. But the vice-captains did a great job.”