Harrington keen to follow McIlroy and McGinley and host Irish Open

Next year’s Ryder Cup captain has not ruled out the possibility of overseeing the tournament in 2020.

Harrington in Lahinch this week.
Harrington in Lahinch this week.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

PÁDRAIG HARRINGTON HAS outlined his ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Rory McIlroy and Paul McGinley and host the Irish Open in the future, but his responsibilities as European Ryder Cup captain may not make it possible next year.

Three-time Major winner Harrington is part of a rota — alongside this week’s host at Lahinch, McGinley, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell — to take it in turn to stage the Irish Open. 

McGinley took over from McIlroy for 2019 after the latter had hosted the event for four years, and Harrington has made no secret of his desire to take on the responsibility. 

“I’m part of the rota. There’s five of us in at the moment and if Shane [Lowry] wins a Major maybe we’ll have six in it pretty soon,” Harrington explained at this afternoon’s press conference.

“Look, we’ve got great people to host an Irish Open and I want to give out [about] that guy McGinley, he keeps overdoing it with the work and making it harder for everybody following him. 

“He’s gone all out with this Irish Open and the expectations will just get higher after him, just like the Ryder Cup.

“I would love to host one in the future, I’m going to, I’m on the list, but it will come down to timings and venues and a lot comes down to the sponsor, and making decisions about getting the right venue and then the right person for that venue to do that.

“So there’s a lot of things that go into it, but I will sure hope to host one in the future.”

When asked if hosting the 2020 Irish Open would be a big ask given his Ryder Cup captaincy role in the same year, Harrington added: “You know, certainly it’s been talked about, discussed. 

Padraig Harrington on the 4th fairway Harrington has been hampered by a wrist injury this season. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“It really does come down to where are we going, what’s the venue, what’s the sponsors want. But you can be sure that I will host the Irish Open in the next number of years. It just mightn’t be next year.”

For now, Harrington’s focus is on Thursday’s first round at Lahinch as he prepares to begin his 2019 Irish Open alongside English pair Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter at 1.10pm.

The Dubliner’s season has been interrupted by injury after he suffered a wrist problem at the start of the year, meaning Harrington has played just seven tournaments on the PGA Tour in 2019.

Harrington admitted his preparations for Lahinch have been hampered by the injury, which he suffered after falling down the stairs at home back in December. 

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“It’s now July, and it feels like it’s January to me,” he added. “I just haven’t got going. I haven’t played enough competitive rounds. I haven’t been on the golf course enough. I’ve never gotten into the run of it.

“I’m still stuck in my winter, what am I working on, what am I doing. I just have not get going and playing.

“Has the wrist caused me problems? Yeah, I haven’t got quite the same range of motion, but I seem to have enough to swing the golf club. I’ve got a little bit of soreness if I overdo it. I’m told that will be there for nine months.” 

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Ryan Bailey

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