Padraig Harrington is the best man for the “monumental challenge” of retaining the Ryder Cup on American soil that Europe will face next year, according to Paul McGinley.
Harrington was confirmed as Europe’s captain for the biennial matchplay tournament on Tuesday, succeeding Thomas Bjorn, who skippered Europe as they regained the trophy in France last year.
The Irishman will become the third captain from the Emerald Isle in four Ryder Cups. McGinley led Europe to victory at Gleneagles in 2014 before Darren Clarke suffered defeat at Hazeltine two years later.
“It’s obviously great for Ireland, and there’s no doubt that Padraig Harrington is the best man for the job on this occasion,” McGinley told Sky Sports.
“He’ll be very diligent, there’s no doubt about that, very confident and hopefully continue this great run of success we’re having in the European team.”
Europe were beaten 17-11 on their last attempt to retain the trophy in the United States and, while McGinley believes it will be a tall order to do so this time around at Whistling Straits, he believes Harrington should have plenty of reason for encouragement.
A man with all the experience both as a player and in the back room team!
An unbelievable individual career and highly respected by all.#goteameurope https://t.co/g2JU2dWPDa
— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) January 8, 2019
“It’s a big task, it’s a task that he’ll relish,” McGinley added. “Obviously winning away from home is a lot more difficult than winning at home, we’re not as good winning away from home, we haven’t won away from home as often compared to what we’ve done when we have been at home, not just win but win relatively comfortably.
“He’s got a lot of things in his favour, I think Thomas was blessed with the best European team we ever had in France, I think Pod will be blessed with an even better team than that.
“I think the standard of golf on the European Tour and the players we have on tour is going to ensure that.
“The second thing is the golf course that we’re playing on is a European style golf course, it’s a golf course that really suits the European style.
“It’s windy, it’s on Lake Michigan, it’s got a links feel to it, so there’s a lot of things adding up in our favour but it’s a monumental task to win on American soil.”
A most deserved appointment as Captain of @RyderCupEurope @padraig_h. Your attitude, experience as a player and Vice-Captain will serve you well indeed, also being a Major Champion. No doubt a fierce battle ahead on USA home frontier. Respect my friend. GP #RyderCup2020 pic.twitter.com/e2RXM7Gkti
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) January 8, 2019
McGinley believes the selection of his vice-captains will be key to Harrington taking on that challenge successfully.
“He’s a deep thinker, he’s somewhat of a left-field thinker, I just watched his press conference and he talked about filling the role of vice-captain very carefully and I totally agree with that,” McGinley said.
“You can’t do everything as a captain, your very much defined by the quality of your vice-captains and you have to rely on them a lot.
“The first few days of the Ryder Cup there’s four different arenas going on at the same time and you really need one pair eyes focused on [all of it], so the values of the vice-captain are going to be very important to him.”