Padraig Harrington wary as Ryder Cup captaincy puts 'legacy on line'

Padraig Harrington will succeed Thomas Bjorn as European captain

Padraig Harrington says he is "putting a successful career on the line" after being named Europe's captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup.

Following Europe's demolition of the United States in France past year, Harrington had been viewed as the only candidate to preside over a defence.

The 47-year-old was part of Europe's last three Ryder Cups as vice-captain and featured in the tournament six times as a player, finishing on the winning side on four occasions.

Bjorn's side put on a ruthless display while outplaying the United States in a 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National in September past year.

Harrington has served as a vice captain in each of the last three Ryder Cups, and he became the front-runner for the job once Lee Westwood took his name out of consideration late a year ago.

The Irishman's appointment, which had been widely expected, was confirmed at a European Tour news conference at Wentworth today.

"I'm well aware that it's win or nothing, that's the way it goes".

'It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players, ' Harrington added. "It's not something I went into lightly".

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"I think what they are really saying is that they liked what they saw and they would like a continuation of what they have seen and not to rock the boat too much". "We've had some great captains over the past number of years".

He was the first American to top the official world golf rankings in 1992 and was a two-time victor of the Ryder Cup as a player; featuring as a vice-captain in the 2012 edition took his total involvements to six.

Harrington has served as a vice-captain at the last three Ryder Cups and appeared in the biennial contest against the United States six times as a player, beginning at Brookline in 1999.

Harrington has a wealth of experience when it comes to the Ryder Cup. "I have to ensure that I find an edge to make the team perform to the best of their abilities and hopefully get a win".

Harrington described the captaincy as a "daunting task", admitting that he did some soul-searching to determine whether this was the right time to take the helm in the twilight of a standout career inside the ropes. "When I talked to the other players and potential captains going forward, it seemed to fit nicely that I go and do the away match".

Steve Stricker is expected to be named the Captain for the 2020 US side, and Harrington previously said thinks he will be a "nice" Captain, but says he is not to be underestimated.

He spent countless hours analysing all manner of statistics for his own team as well as the opposition, and he took Ryder Cup captaincy to a new level.

"It is a natural graduation for Padraig, not just from his playing record, which is very stellar, but also through three vice captaincies". As a player you are very one-dimensional about doing your thing and getting on with performing.

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