Langer confident Harrington can lead Europe to victory on US soil

Bernie McGuire
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Langer confident Harrington can lead Europe to victory on US soil

Padraig Harrington, Bernhard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez hold the prize as the European team celebrates 2004 Ryder Cup award ceremonies in Detroit, Michigan, September 19, 2004. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Former victorious captain Bernhard Langer is quietly confident Padraig Harrington can repeat what the German achieved 17-years ago and steer Europe to Ryder Cup victory on U.S. soil.

Langer’s European Team won with a record-setting nine-point margin in 2004 at Oakland Hills with Ian Woosnam’s men then matching that feat two years later at the K Club. And with Steve Stricker’s USA side now boasting three of four major winners of 2021, Langer was asked ahead of his defence on this week’s British Seniors Open, his thoughts on Harrington leading Europe to victory along the shores of Lake Michigan,

“With Padraig at the helm, I have great respect for him,” said Langer. “I think he’s a person that won’t have left any stone unturned to be a great captain and to do whatever it takes to help his team to give the best effort possible.

“I think he’ll be a great captain and I think we have a very strong team. It’s always harder to play away than at home, no doubt about it.

“The Americans are very patriotic, but so are the Europeans, so I wish them all good luck. I don’t know what the outcome will be, I hope it’s in our favour and I hope it’s a close one, but I hope the Europeans come out on top.”

And Langer was full of praise for countryman Marcel Siem after his superb showing at last week’s Open Championship. Siem was among the last to qualify for golf’s oldest major in winning on the secondary Challenge Tour and during the four days he endeared himself not only to those present at Royal St. George’s but those who’ve probably never heard of Siem.

The four-time European Tour winning Siem was well in contention over the opening three rounds with scores of 67 following by a 41st birthday celebration of a second round 67 plus a third day 70 ahead of a closing 71 to finish on five-under and in a share of 15th place.

Siem has now contested five Open Championships since 2010 with Sunday’s result a dozen places better than his tie for 27th eleven years ago at the Home of Golf. The effort lifted him to 152nd on the Race to Dubai after missing the cut in his two main Tour events this season while he remains in second place on the secondary Road to Mallorca where Siem looks to regain full main Tour membership for 2021.

Langer, a winner of an incredible 117 pro events around the globe and team-mate with Siem when Germany captured the 2006 World Cup of Golf, was asked for his reaction to Siem’s performance ahead of the soon-to-be 64-year old’s defence of his British Seniors Open title at Sunningdale.

“I thought Marcel’s efforts last week at The Open were terrific and basically for a guy who had gone off the charts, and off the scene for two or three years and to fight his way back and being really good golf for the past three weeks, and to be back on the Majors scene playing well on a tough golf and venue, and to be on the leaderboard pretty much all week, was phenomenal,” said Langer.

“He showed he has a lot of talent and a lot of fight in him and I am very proud of him that Marcel made it through this lull in his career and hopefully he will get his tour card back and go from strength to strength.”

And Langer was praiseworthy of now fellow double Major winning Collin Morikawa in the manner he spoke directly to leading amateur, Germany’s Matthias Schmid at last Sunday’s Open Championship presentation ceremony.

“We all get caught-up in the day-to-day scene of golf and sometimes it does seem like life-and-death and it’s not as there’s a bigger picture, so Morikawa’s advice to Matthias was great,” said Langer.

“Matthias needs to enjoy the process as it is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Some of us can be too serious in the moment and don’t enjoy the process as the way we should.”

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