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I was so selfish and ignorant as a Ryder player, says Harrington

 

Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington

By Ed Elliot

European captain Pádraig Harrington admits he was "selfish" and "ignorant" during his playing days at the Ryder Cup.

The three-time Major winner is a veteran of six matches against the United States, winning on four occasions between 1999 and 2010.

Harrington has since experienced the biennial contest as part of the management team, serving as a vice-captain at the last three ahead of taking full control at Whistling Straits in 2020.

The 47-year-old concedes he was previously naive to the true demands placed on team leaders.

"It is a huge shock, the difference from being a player where you can't understand why you're not playing all five matches to being a vice-captain and seeing the different pressures and pulls on the captain's time," said Harrington, unveiled as Europe's new captain on Tuesday.

"I just can't believe I was a player and didn't know. That's what fascinates me.

"As a vice-captain I'm sitting there going, 'I was so ignorant to what was really going on behind the scenes', and so selfish in terms of thinking about what I need and thinking the Ryder Cup revolves around me during the week. That's one of the things you learn."

Harrington served as a vice-captain at the 2014 win under Paul McGinley at Gleneagles and the 2018 success in Paris led by Thomas Bjorn, as well as 2016's defeat under Darren Clarke.

The Irishman plans to call on the knowledge of all three of those former captains in Wisconsin next year but ruled out the possibility of any of them being involved in an official capacity.

He believes it is his responsibility to nurture future captains and has already said selecting five vice-captains is "a must".

"It's somewhat incumbent now on the captain to bring players in as his vice-captains who are going to be potentially future captains.

"My job is to do what Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke did for me."

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