Padraig Harrington is the 2020 European Ryder Cup captain for 2020, officially taking over for victorious captain Thomas Bjorn.
Harrington, 47, will lead the European side into the biennial series at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. While the American captain has yet to be named for 2020, it’s widely thought Wisconsin native Steve Stricker will be the new U.S. leader.
It’s a unique period for the Ryder Cup captaincy, with Harrington being the third man from the Emerald Isle to lead the Europeans in the last four Ryder Cups. The Dane Bjorn was the only standout. On each of the last three Ryder Cup teams, Harrington has been a vice-captain: for Paul McGinley in 2014, Darren Clarke in 2016 and Bjorn last year in Paris.
Harrington was named captain in a unanimous vote of the five-person electing panel, comprised of the prior three captains, Euro Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley and European Tour Tournament Committee representative Edoardo Molinari.
The Irishman believes he has the personality to lead a winning team on the road.
“I’m probably the right man for an away match in the United States,” he said. “I spent a lot of my career there. I’ve won there.”
He admits he will need to rally a team of 12 — likely significantly different than the one that won in Paris.
“I have to find an edge. I have to find a way to help that team perform the best they can,” he said.
The Irishman has won 31 times around the world in his career, including three majors championships in a 14-month span: the 2007 and 2008 British Open Championship, as well the 2008 PGA Championship. He played on six different European Ryder Cup teams, the rare Euro of this generation to carry a losing record (9-13-3).
Perhaps the reason for the losing record is Harrington is also the rare modern European player to be on multiple losing Ryder Cup teams. Harrington was on the losing side in 1999, when the United States engineered a miraculous four-point final-day comeback at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., as well in 2008, when a weakened European team lost to Paul Azinger’s American charges at Valhalla in Kentucky.
The 2020 Ryder Cup will be played Sept. 25-27 in Kohler, Wis.