Friday 9 December 2016

'I want to be a player' - Padraig Harrington not interested in becoming Ryder Cup captain for 2018

Phil Casey

Published 24/10/2016 | 15:15

Padraig Harrington of Ireland celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th green during day four of the Portugal Masters at Victoria Clube de Golfe in Vilamoura, Portugal. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington of Ireland celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th green during day four of the Portugal Masters at Victoria Clube de Golfe in Vilamoura, Portugal. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington has reiterated his intention to be a player rather than Europe's captain in the next Ryder Cup.

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Harrington, who was a vice-captain in 2014 and 2016, said in the immediate aftermath of the 17-11 defeat at Hazeltine that he wanted to play at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

And the three-time major winner had no reason to change his mind after claiming a first European Tour title since 2008 in the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura on Sunday.

"(With) the Ryder Cup, Paul McGinley kind of changed the parameters," the 45-year-old Dubliner told Sky Sports News. "It took three and a half years out of Paul McGinley's life.

"It certainly took two years out of Darren Clarke's playing career. I want to be a player. If I go for the captaincy nobody is going to give me back the 45th and 46th years in terms of my playing career.

"It's a huge sacrifice and as much as I would love to be Ryder Cup captain, selfishly I want to be a golfer. I want to compete and win tournaments so I'm going to push it down the road.

"Hopefully I will get an opportunity down the road. At the moment I am focused on playing. Whether it's a reality or not or whether it's a possibility, in my head I am going to make the Ryder Cup team in 2018."

Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, who has been a vice-captain on four occasions, is the favourite to be appointed captain by a panel made up of the three most recent skippers - Clarke, McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal - European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and players' committee representative Henrik Stenson.

A decision is expected later this year or in early 2017.

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