Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

Padraig Harrington is in no hurry to be the European skipper

Padraig Harrington hopes to become the captain of the European Ryder Cup team in the future
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Rory McIlroy celebrates after Europe defeated the USA 14.5 to 13.5 to retain the Ryder Cup during the Singles Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 30, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Rose of Europe and his wife Kate Rose attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Padraig Harrington has thrown his hat into the ring for the captaincy of the European Ryder Cup team — but not for Gleneagles 2014.

The three-time Major champion, who had to sit at home and watch the pulsating drama of Medinah unfold on television, is more determined than ever to play his way into the team for the Ryder Cup in Scotland.

And even though he accepts that captaincy can be a “poisoned chalice”, Harrington definitely has the job on his list of career goals.

“Absolutely, but not just yet. I hope to play a few more but I definitely would love to be captain. It's a difficult job. You could do a good job and if the team loses, it's down to you. If you do a bad job and the team wins, you get the glory.

“It is a bit of a poisoned chalice, but it's definitely something everybody would want to take on in their career,” said Harrington.

An image comes to mind of Harrington's weekend being similar to a kid watching from outside the window of a sweet shop while his mates are inside gorging themselves on treats.

The Dubliner tried his best to make the team for Medinah, but failed to garner enough qualifying points. Harrington admitted he felt a few pangs when the match teed off on day one.

“It was tougher when it started off on Friday, not being there. At the end of it, you're just absorbed in the coverage. You're not really thinking about yourself as you're watching the singles.

“There's no doubt as you are watching the foursomes and four-balls, there's an element of 'I wonder who would I have been partnered with', 'would I have been playing foursomes or four-balls', that sort of thing.

“When it comes to the singles, you're just enthralled by what's happening. The rest of it was certainly kind of strange, watching the foursomes and four-balls. But that's the nature of golf,” he said.

The debate about an Irish captain is in full flow, but though Harrington expects Scotland's Paul Lawrie to be a contender for Gleneagles, he feels the job should go to an Irishman.

“It's certainly looking like an Irish captain for the next one, although I could see Paul Lawrie throwing his hat in there, but maybe he might think now he can play again in the next one.

“If you had asked me this six months ago, I would have said Paul (McGinley) is the only man in the running, but obviously with Paul Lawrie and Darren (Clarke) there it changes things.

“As much as Paul looks like the captain who has done his apprenticeship, it's likely it's going to go to Darren who has had a bigger European career,” said Harrington.

This week, Harrington returns to action in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which will be played at St Andrews (Old), Carnoustie and Kingsbarns.

He won the tournament in 2002 and 2006, and feels inspired by the Ryder Cup excitement to push ahead for a big finish to the 2012 season.

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