Saturday 22 October 2016

Graeme McDowell thinks Padraig Harrington's Irishness may cost him 2018 Ryder Cup captaincy

Published 04/10/2016 | 15:53

Graeme McDowell believes Padraig Harrington should be a contender to become Ryder Cup captain for the 2018 event in France, but he admits the prospect of three Irishmen in succession leading the team may block his path to the top job.

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Three-time major winner Harrington is strongly tipped to lead Europe as they look to retain the trophy lost to America last weekend, with Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn also believed to be in the mix to take the prestigious captaincy role.

Read more: Rory McIlroy cools talk of Irish Ryder Cup 'three in a row'

With Ian Poulter vowing to do all he can to make the European team for 2018 in Paris, it may come down to a battle between Harrington, Bjorn and 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie to succeed Darren Clarke.

While McDowell is convinced his fellow Irishman Harrington has what it takes to lead the Ryder Cup team, he suspects the prospect of appointing three successive Irish Ryder Cup captains may count against him after Clarke and Paul McGinley fronted the European challenge in the last two events.

“You’ve got to be looking at Harrington, Bjorn, Lawrie - who has thrown his hat into the ring and has been given the resounding recommendation of Sam Torrance - and probably Miguel Angel Jimenez,” he told Sky Sports.

“I think Lee Westwood probably has one or two more Ryder Cups left in him, so I look at one of those other four guys.

“Harrington certainly has the right playing credentials. It would be the third Irishman in a row, so if you guys are sick of having Irish captains you might want to have a year off!”

McDowell also insisted Europe did not need to make big changes to their Ryder Cup set-up, despite the comprehensive 17-11 defeat against a resurgent American side at Hazeltine.

“It’s not as though anything needs to change, he added. “Our template on how to win Ryder Cups remains solid. They just ran into the better team last week and there was nothing they could do about it.

“You had a US team that was hungry, fired up on home soil, and the stars aligned - just one of those things.”

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