Stackstown hero to add to Ryder history

by Stephen Findlater

Stackstown’s Padraig Harrington was named as the European captain on Monday for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The three-time major champion has a storied Ryder Cup career, having represented Europe six times as a player – including four triumphs – while latterly he has brought his extensive experience to the role of vice-captain in the past three editions of the biennial contest.

The 47-year-old joins Grange man Paul McGinley (2014) and Darren Clarke (2016) as professionals from the island of Ireland to lead Europe.

He will be hoping to emulate the last European triumph on American soil – at Medinah in 2012 – as Europe defend the trophy won memorably at Le Golf National last September.

Harrington was chosen as Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent European Ryder Cup Captains – Bjørn, Clarke and McGinley – as well as the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, and European Tour Tournament Committee representative Edoardo Molinari.

Harrington said: “It is a tremendous honour to be named Ryder Cup Captain and I am relishing the next 20 months as we work towards Whistling Straits and Europe’s defence of the trophy.

“I have played under, and been involved with, many wonderful European captains since I made my debut in the contest 20 years ago and I would like to think that my captaincy will be a mix of all of them. I am very much looking forward to taking on this role.”

The Irishman claimed a total of 10 1/2 points over his six Ryder Cup appearances, starting at Brookline in 1999, when he teamed up with Miguel Ángel Jiménez in the day one foursomes to halve with Davis Love III and Payne Stewart before claiming his maiden singles victory, defeating Mark O’Meara by one hole.

His first experience of a European victory came at The Belfry in 2002 where he took two points from his four matches.

Harrington’s greatest single match points haul of four from five matches came in Europe’s record-breaking 18 1/2 – 9 1/2 victory at Oakland Hills in 2004. He resumed his partnership with Montgomerie to defeat Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in the fourballs and Davis Love III and Fred Funk in the foursomes, before teaming up with McGinley to beat Love III and Woods in the foursomes, before rounding off with a singles win over Jay Haas.

He was part of another stunning win by the same scoreline two years later, this time on home soil at The K Club, before rounding off his playing career in the contest as part of Europe’s dramatic 14 1/2 – 13 1/2 triumph at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales in 2010.

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