Thursday 29 June 2017

Harrington closes on Ryder backroom role as making team 'a real long shot'

Pádraig Harrington has all but admitted that he will be a Ryder Cup back-room boy for Darren Clarke in September. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Pádraig Harrington has all but admitted that he will be a Ryder Cup back-room boy for Darren Clarke in September. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Pádraig Harrington has all but admitted that he will be a Ryder Cup back-room boy for Darren Clarke in September.

As he prepared to defend his Honda Classic title at PGA National in Florida this week, the 44-year old conceded that he needs to win at least twice this year to have any chance of winning his sixth Ryder Cup cap as a player in Minnesota.

He acted as an assistant to Paul McGinley at Gleneagles two years ago, and has already chatted with 2016 skipper Clarke about filling a backroom role at Hazeltine.

"It's like the Olympics," Harrington said of his chances of making Clarke's team as a player. "If I starting winning and playing well, both the Ryder Cup and the Olympics are on the radar.

"As much I would like to play in both, they're long shots, real long shots. So I wouldn't be putting any money on making the team.

"And if I'm not in the team then I would love to be there as part of Darren's backroom team. Yes, I have spoken to him and yes, we have discussed it."

With Paul Lawrie, José María Olazábal, Thomas Bjorn, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter also believed to be on Clarke's vice-captaincy short list, Harrington feels he would be called upon to fill gaps that Clarke can't fill himself.

"I am a different personality and will probably bring a slightly different aspect to it," he said.

"I am different in that Darren is emotional and if I am there, I will bring more managerial stuff. He is definitely a frontman."

Irish Independent

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