Padraig Harrington targets 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy

Padraig Harrington

Padraig Harrington has thrown his hat into the ring to succeed Thomas Bjorn as European Ryder Cup captain.

Three-time major winner Harrington had been widely tipped to hold off on skippering the side until 2026 in the event that Adare Manor, in his native Ireland, wins the right to stage the contest.

However, the 46-year-old, six times a player in the match, tonight ruled out that prospect – and instead fixed his sights on the 2020 match at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

"I'd love to be a Ryder cup captain down the road," he said. "Putting my name in the ring is coming sooner rather than later, with my form. I don't look like I'm going to be playing my way into any team too soon.

"As regards 2026, it's too late. Too late for me to wait for that. It would be too much of a risk. I would be somewhat out of touch with players by 2026, and there will be a lot of good players coming on the scene by 2026, good players who are playing now who would be looking for the captaincy, which would mean, if you've got five, six guys in, it's creating a risk you'll never get the job. 

"So I don't think I'll be waiting around for 2026, as much as I'd like to be the captain in Ireland."

Harrington could face stiff competition for the captaincy. Lee Westwood has already declared an interest in taking over as captain from current skipper Thomas Bjorn, whilst Harrington’s fellow Carnoustie Open champion, Paul Lawrie, is also believed to be keen on the gig. 

However Harrington, who will be 49 by the time the match comes around, reckons 2020 would be the perfect opportunity for him to take over the hot-seat.

"It would be good timing for me, 2020 for sure, in terms of where I would be in my career," he added. "I'm kind of finished in America next year. I've got All-Time Money winner on the PGA Tour next year, and the year 2020 I'd probably be back playing in Europe, which, if you were a Ryder Cup captain, you would need to be. There's a lot of official duties.

"You need to play a lot of European Tour events. The captain being away in the States wouldn't be a good thing."

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