New European Ryder Cup captain unveiled

Ryder Cup Tophy

It’s official: Padraig Harrington is the new European Ryder Cup captain.

Harrington, 47, succeeds Thomas Bjorn who masterminded last year’s victory at Le Golf National in Paris.

He also becomes the third Irishman to skipper the side in the last three matches, following Paul McGinley in 2014 and Darren Clarke in 2016.

• IN PICS - Padraig Harrington's Ryder Cup career

Harrington’s appointment for the match at Whistling Straits was widely expected, particularly after Lee Westwood – believed to be his main rival for the role – withdrew himself from consideration in October, preferring instead to throw his hat in the ring for the 2022 match in Italy.

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"I'm thrilled," said the new skipper. "It's not something I went into lightly. You could look at this as being a natural progression - from player, to vice-captain, to captain - but it's not something I take on without a certain amount of trepidation.

"I've done a lot in my own career but taking on the Ryder Cup captaincy is a different level.

Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup

"But I'm excited and hope I can do a good job. We've had some great captains over the last number of years and I've learned from all of them. I've probably learned more from being a vice-captain than I did as a player because you definitely see a lot more.

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"So, it's daunting because you want to do a good job. Thomas [Bjorn] did a great job and left it in a great place but I'm looking forward to it. I will try my best to pull it all together and hopefully I will."

Three-time major champion Harrington made his Ryder Cup debut at Brookline in 1999 and went on to play in the next five consecutive editions, collecting 10.5 points from his 25 matches.

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Arguably his most memorable moment came when he and Colin Montgomerie teamed-up to take down Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the opening match of the 2004 contest at Oakland Hills.

Harrington’s opposite number is still to be confirmed but it is widely expected that Wisconsinite Steve Stricker will be given the nod to lead the USA in his home state.

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