Sunday 19 May 2019

Captain Harrington admits 'it's win or nothing' and allays fears that Rory McIlroy could miss the Ryder Cup in 2020

Pádraig Harrington with the Ryder Cup during a press conference to announce his captaincy at Wentworth yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile
Pádraig Harrington with the Ryder Cup during a press conference to announce his captaincy at Wentworth yesterday. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Pádraig Harrington is ready to put his reputation on the line as Ryder Cup captain with Rory McIlroy as his team-room talisman.

The Dubliner confessed that he had to think "long and hard" before accepting the task of leading Europe's defence of the trophy at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2020.

But he's determined to grasp the opportunity with both hands and insisted there's zero chance McIlroy will back away from playing for Europe despite his decision to cut back on his European Tour commitments this season.

Hoping to become just the fifth European captain to win on US soil, he said: "I am well aware, it's a win or nothing. That's the way it goes. You go out there and win, you're a successful captain. You lose, you're not.

"It is daunting. Some of it's a little bit outside my control. I will concentrate on what I can control, but it does reflect on my career how this goes.

"I'm aware that I could have passed up on this and just kept on going as a nice tournament golfer.

"But I'm like everybody else who takes on the Ryder Cup; when you're a Ryder Cup captain, you're putting the history of your game, your legacy, on the line. I don't think I ever thought I wasn't going to do it, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons.

"I wanted to make sure that I was doing it because I believed in it and wanted it and felt I could add to it.

"I am prepared to take that chance of putting myself out there and not be a success."

The 47-year-old dismissed fears that McIlroy could give up his European Tour membership next season and miss out on a fifth successive cap.

Harrington said: "He will never miss out on the Ryder Cup. His interaction in the team-room, his actions on the golf course, nothing gives him a buzz like the Ryder Cup. He loves the team element.

"A lot of the European players like that team bonding element and Rory is top of the list.

"As he has moved into becoming an official playing captain in that team-room, he is a leader in there, and he is not going to get that anywhere else.

"He will make every effort to be in my Ryder Cup team, and he will be there."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing - Where Leinster went wrong, Saracens power and looking ahead to RDS showdown

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport