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'One of the leaders of my team' - Harrington confident of McIlroy's commitment to Ryder Cup

The 29-year-old recently described the European Tour as ‘a stepping stone.’

Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington (file pic).
Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington (file pic).
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

NEWLY APPOINTED RYDER Cup captain Pádraig Harrington says he is confident that Rory McIlroy will be representing Europe at the next year’s competition against the United States.

McIlroy recently described the European Tour as “a stepping stone” and says he wants to concentrate on the PGA Tour in 2019.

The 29-year-old has committed to playing in only two events in Europe this season but needs to play a minimum of four outside of the majors and the World Golf Championships to retain his European Tour membership.

But Harrington has no doubts about McIlroy’s commitment to playing at the 2020 Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.

“I can only look at his actions,” Harrington told RTÉ Sport following today’s announcement that he will succeed Thomas Bjorn for the 43rd instalment of the team event against the USA.

“I have been involved in a number of Ryder Cups with Rory. He loves it and lives it. It’s such a big deal for him. He’s a leader in the team room now.

42nd Ryder Cup - Day Three - Le Golf National McIlroy after Europe's victory at last year's Ryder Cup. Source: David Davies

“Nothing gives him the buzz like he’s getting out of a Ryder Cup, on the golf course and in that team room.

He will do everything he can to be involved in that. He will be involved in that and he will be one of the leaders of my team, no doubt about it. I am looking at his actions rather than words and his actions are all about Europe.”

Harrington has featured in the Ryder Cup on six occasions as a player and enjoyed four victories in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.

He was vice-captain when Europe defeated USA last September and previously held that role on two other previous occasions. 

Harrington has also won three Majors throughout his career and he says he is willing to put his golfing reputation on the line as he accepts this new challenge.

I’m prepared to put the time and effort in. I’m prepared to put my legacy somewhat on the line because a winning Ryder Cup captain is great they’ll find fault somehow with a losing Ryder Cup captain.

“It’s one of those things [where] you’re putting yourself out there. I had to question whether I wanted that, I certainly wanted it in terms of my own golf but it’s a different thing when you’re in management.

“Some of this is tough for me. I’m not the warm and fuzzy type of guy, the emotional side of stuff I [is something] I’ll have to work at. I’m the practical guy but you need both of those.

“When you’re a captain, you’ve got to be able to relate to all sorts of personalities so I had to make sure that I’m ready to step up and do my job.”

You can listen to the full interview:


Source: RTĖ Sport/SoundCloud

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