Friday 15 December 2017

Harrington: McGinley’s ‘little guy syndrome’ will make his Ryder Cup captaincy

New Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley
New Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley

Mark Garrod

PADRAIG Harrington has described Europe's new Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley as having "a little guy syndrome" - and cannot wait to see that side of his fellow Dubliner's character come out next year.

McGinley will take charge of the European team as they aim to retain the title in Gleneagles and Harrington, who will make his debut in the Waste Management Open in Phoenix tomorrow, is already looking forward to the occasion.

"He's a little fella and he likes to fight," Harrington said of McGinley.

"He really has that little bit from his (Gaelic) football days. He's got it inside him and will lead the team well in that respect, as well as being organised."

Harrington missed last year's Ryder Cup after a slump that took him down to 96th in the world, but he is back up to just outside the top 50 and knows the importance of continuing his climb.

"I only got a chance of making it on the world ranking points with the schedule I keep," he said.

"I didn't play seven events that basically give you points for turning up and I realised in order to make it easier you have to be in those.

"It put a huge amount of pressure on my game because two or three guys are going to have exceptional years and then you're really only playing for one or two spots."

As for the incentive of returning under McGinley, with whom he won the World Cup and played alongside in three Ryder Cups, the 41-year-old said: "I don't think it motivates me more - I'm fully motivated.

"I've known him for a long time and it's going to be fantastic having him as captain, but it would be fantastic to be in the Ryder Cup no matter who was captaining the team.

"Professional golf is one of the most selfish games that you can play. It's an individual sport and it's all about managing ourselves, but Paul McGinley loves teams.

"He's probably sacrificed the last three years of his playing career and the next 18 months for the Ryder Cup. It's been all about the team for him."

Harrington played in Abu Dhabi a fortnight ago, but made the decision to fly to Arizona so he could finally sample one of the noisiest crowds in golf and did not have to fight jetlag at Pebble Beach next week.

The par-three 16th is where the fans really flock to on Saturday, and he said: "I hear they're putting green on for the Irish fellas. Had they told me before I would have turned up earlier!

"I'm thinking about pulling a shirt over my head and running down to the green if I hole out."

Harrington plays the first two rounds with Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan, while Phil Mickelson partners Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler, Dufner having played in the Middle East in the last two weeks.

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