Monday 21 October 2019

'I think he'd be a perfect captain' - Matt Wallace backs Padraig Harrington for 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Padraig Harrington is a contender to lead Europe at the 2020 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin (Richard Sellers/PA)
Padraig Harrington is a contender to lead Europe at the 2020 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin (Richard Sellers/PA)

Phil Casey

Ryder Cup hopeful, Matt Wallace believes Padraig Harrington will work "tirelessly" to ensure Europe retain the Ryder Cup if, as expected, the three-time major winner is named captain for the 2020 contest next week.

Harrington has been the odds-on favourite to succeed Thomas Bjorn since Lee Westwood said in October that he would prefer to do the job in Rome in 2022 and described Harrington as the "better candidate" to lead the team at Whistling Straits.

The decision is due to be announced at the European Tour's Wentworth headquarters on Tuesday, with Harrington set to step up from his role as a vice-captain in the last three contests.

Wallace, who narrowly missed out on a wild card for Europe's victorious team at Le Golf National despite enjoying three wins in 2018, told Press Association Sport: "His career is one that any player would dream of having.

"He's a brilliant player, a workaholic and someone I look up to in that sense, someone who gets everything out of his game and I'm sure everyone in the team would get on well with him. His Ryder Cup history speaks for itself and if he is the captain I would love to play under him.

"From team sports that I've played in I think he'd be a perfect captain, someone you could go and talk to but someone maybe who could give you a kick up the backside if he didn't think you were performing.

"I've spent a bit of time with him over the past few months and even just practising with him, doing short game and putting stuff, he's just someone who grinds and works tirelessly and I'm sure he'd be like that as a captain to try and get the best performance and ultimate goal of winning the Ryder Cup."

Wallace's caddie Dave McNeilly worked for Harrington for a number of years and the two players seemingly share that willingness to put in the long hours of practice required to succeed.

"After one of the rounds in Turkey in November it was just myself and Padraig on the putting green and Dave went up to Ronan (Flood, Harrington's caddie) and said, 'This is bad news for us because there's floodlights about to come on!'" Wallace joked.

"Dave was like, 'Should I go and get the coffees?' and it was just me and Padraig on the range for quite a while."

Matt Wallace was speaking as he announced his ambassador's role with The Belfry Hotel and Resort.

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