It is now almost official – Padraig Harrington will captain Europe into the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Padraig Harrington / Image from Getty Images
We have been reporting for the past week that Harrington will be handed the captaincy early in December and spoke last week to Paul McGinley, one of five who will vote in early December to choose the 2020 European Team captain, with the victorious 2014 Gleneagles captain hinting the only stumbling block could be whether or not Lee Westwood will throw his cap into the Whistling Straits captaincy ring.
Westwood answered that question on the eve of this week’s British Masters and ‘No’, he will not oppose Harrington and, in turn, will receive the 2022 captaincy unopposed.
Westwood, 45, had previously expressed an interest in captaining the team at Whistling Straits but now prefers to wait until the 2022 match in Rome.
“I’d like to be playing in two years’ time,” said Westwood. “I think Padraig Harrington is the ideal candidate for the captaincy. I’d prefer to do it in Rome if possible.”
It now begs the question whether the selection panel featuring European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, the previous three captains in Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and McGinley need to meet at all.
Bjorn however, who will play alongside Harrington and Westwood in the first two rounds at Walton Heath, has stated the obvious, “There’s a process to go through and I think you’ve got to look at whether we are covering all bases,” he said.
“But I’ve always said when you’ve got somebody that’s a three-time major champion and has the pedigree Padraig has and holds the respect of the players that he does, it would be difficult to see him not doing it at some stage.”
“If he wants it this time around, it’s difficult to get around that he is very much the favourite to get the job.”
The selection panel is due to meet in December to discuss Europe’s next captain.