Harrington to captain Europe at 2020 Ryder Cup

Padraig Harrington and Des Smyth at the Irish Open in 2015

But Harrington, who was named European captain on Tuesday, is confident McIlroy will be available for selection in Whistling Straights next year as his team attempt to defend the trophy won in Paris in September.

Harrington, 47, a three-time major victor who played on six European teams, takes over for Thomas Bjorn, who oversaw a rousing success in France in September when Europe defeated the Americans 16½ to 9½, a seventh victory in the last 10 Ryder Cups.

The three-time major victor succeeds Dane Thomas Bjorn and becomes just the second golfer from the Republic of Ireland to take the reins for the tournament after Paul McGinley, who was victorious in 2014.

Europe's new captain Padraig Harrington has vast Ryder Cup experience and is "highly respected by all", according to his predecessor Thomas Bjorn.

The Irishman's appointment, which had been widely expected, was confirmed at a European Tour news conference at Wentworth today. But I think that's a road you should not go down. "I'm thrilled but it's not something I take on without a certain amount of trepidation". I'm putting something on the line going out there'. It's possibly easier to be Ryder Cup captain at home but I realise it was good timing in my career and probably the best chance for the team in an worldwide setting, going to the U.S. having me as captain at this time. "That's something I don't take lightly".

With Harrington Europe has continued its model of vice captains serving for a few years before taking the mantle.

The Europeans have won nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups.

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Bjorn and previous captains Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley are on the panel that will decide who will lead Europe to America. Their confidence in me I feel will be well placed.

"So yes, I think Steve will be a nice Ryder Cup captain".

Considered among the greatest to play the game, Woods got his first taste of Ryder Cup leadership by serving as a vice-captain to Davis Love III at Hazeltine in 2016 as a string of back issues blighted his illustrious career. I strongly looked at the fact that we are going to a golf course that is at least European style.

"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".

"Players are interested in being under me as a captain". He won't want to change a winning formula, he knows what works and - perhaps more importantly - what doesn't work, and he'll stick with that. Even mentioning a cup of coffee has been known to tip him into angst about how best to make one.

Steve Stricker is expected to be named the Captain for the 2020 United States of America side, and Harrington previously said thinks he will be a "nice" Captain, but says he is not to be underestimated.

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