Padraig Harrington / Image from Getty Images
Victorious Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn has advised newly-appointed European Team Captain, Padraig Harrington to ‘be true to himself’ in the lead-up to the competition later next year.
Bjorn, speaking in an article appearing in the Scotsman by AGW colleague Martin Dempster, indicated he has spoken on a few occasions with Harrington since his appointment in January.
Harrington was the clear odds-on favourite to take over from Bjorn having been a European Team vice-captain on three occasions.
“I’ve had a nice conversation with Padraig since he was appointed,” revealed Bjorn.
“I basically said to him that he needs to be true to himself and do things that he wants to do in the job. He has everything he needs. He comes into it from a great place. He’s done three vice captaincies, which has really turned him from being a player into a guy who now thinks about the Ryder Cup from a captain’s perspective.
“For me, it will be good fun to watch it from the side-lines this time.”
Sadly, the only downside in being appointed either captain of the European Team or accepting the role as USA Captain is a guaranteed downturn in your own form.
We’ve seen that from a European viewpoint in recent years with regards to Jose Maria Olazabal, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Bjorn.
Indeed, Clarke is only now beginning to get himself back into contention as we saw last week in finishing in a share of second on the Champions Tour. And this was a question Martin put to Bjorn.
“When you are Ryder Cup captain, it is difficult to keep on top of your own game,” said Bjorn.
“Your mind is constantly on other stuff. You could probably go through the first 10-12 months being okay, but then it changes. You are concentrating more on other players than what is happening with your own game.
“As captain, as much as you can’t do anything about who qualifies for the team, you are constantly thinking about the players and who you’d like to be there. You are almost living with them in a sense. You are always watching what they are doing and that makes it hard to concentrate on your own game.
“I have given up my tournament committee status, but I am still working on certain things with Keith Pelley and David Williams (the European Tour chief executive and chairman respectively).
“However, if I am to get back playing competitively again, I need these six to eight months to work hard and not really do anything else other than that.”
A niggling wrist injury has kept Harrington side-lined since the captaincy announcement but it will be interesting to see how his own form is impacted, upon his imminent return to action.