Friday 22 February 2019

'Monumental' task but Pádraig is right man for job - McGinley

Paul McGinley. Photo: Sportsfile
Paul McGinley. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley believes Pádraig Harrington faces a "monumental task" in trying to become just the fifth European captain to win the Ryder Cup on US soil.

But like Tony Jacklin, one of just four European skippers to beat the Americans on their own patch, he believes Harrington is the perfect choice for the job because of the respect he enjoys in the team room.

Only Jacklin (at Muirfield Village in 1987), Bernard Gallacher (Oak Hill, 1995), Bernhard Langer (Oakland Hills, 2004) and José María Olazabal (Medinah, 2012) have beaten the odds to bring Sam Ryder's little gold chalice back across the Atlantic, but Harrington will not shrink from the challenge.

Quite apart from his third Major win in the US PGA at Oakland Hills in 2008 - four years after he played some phenomenal golf at the Detroit venue to help Langer's team retain the trophy in 2004 - he's also won three PGA Tour titles on US soil as well as Tiger Woods' Chevron World Challenge and the 1997 World Cup of Golf with McGinley at Kiawah Island.

Elevation For all that, McGinley, who was a member of the five-strong selection committee that rubber-stamped Harrington's elevation to the captaincy, believes that Harrington will have to "raise the bar" when it comes to Europe's away template.

"It's a monumental task to go and win on American soil," McGinley said. "But I think it's the right decision. He has graduated not just from his playing record, which is very stellar, but through three vice-captaincies in the Ryder Cup.

"So it's a natural graduation and part of a succession plan that has been in place. It's what we do and that's why we've had so much success - the succession plan of making vice-captaincies into captaincies.

"The Ryder Cup captaincy is a very esteemed position because your peers vote you to be the captain. There are not many sports where the people you are going to be leading are the ones that are going to vote you into that position.

"As a result, the relationship you have with those players is vitally important and there's no doubt that Pádraig is very well respected."

Irish Independent

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