Padraig Harrington and rival USA Captain, Steve Stricker played host to the 2020 Ryder Cup ‘Year To Go’ Ceremony at Whislting Straits in Wisconsin.
The duo entertained questions from the attending media ranging in subjects from why Europe dominated at the 2018 Ryder Cup, home match versus away matches, what both have learnt in being vice-captains, the nature of the Whistling Straits venue, the impact of the Ryder Cup to the state of Wisconsin and the first memories of both captains from their experience of the biennial competition.
Harrington also spoke of the possibility, a scenario that one would think will never occur, of the Ryder Cup being played on a ‘neutral’ venue.
Given the 2020 Ryder Cup is officially a year away, both Harrington and Stricker can hardly speak of the make-up of their 12-man sides though Harrington did speak of the challenge of being an away captain and also how he felt he will embrace a Bernhard Langer style of captaincy.
And in revealing his goal to mirror the captaincy style of the German, who led Europe to a then record nine-point success at Oakland Hills in 2004, the Dubliner indicated his captaincy manner will also be in stark contrast to the ‘fuzzy’ manners he says in referring to the style adopted by 2002 winning Ryder Cup captain, Sam Torrance and also 2006 winning European Team leader, Ian Woosnam.
First Harrington addressed the difference in being a home captain as opposed to being a visiting captain.
“I suppose it’s a different challenge to being a home captain. There’s no doubt when you’re a home captain, a lot of your captaincy is setting up the golf course and the challenge that everybody is going to get,” said Harrington.
“You get to make a lot of choices when you’re the home captain. As the away captain, you are presented with certain options, the only options. Mostly my captaincy will be just managing my team, the nine players and then the three captain’s picks.
“When I have that team, it’s putting them together in the right format for foursomes and fourball. It’s hopefully managing their expectations during the week for what they are going to see and the ebbs and flows of the event.
“You know, that will probably be more with rookies than the senior players. They have been here before. They have seen it before. But even then, I’d be the sort of person, I’d be more of the Bernhard Langer style of captaincy than the warm and fuzzy Ian Woosnam style of captaincy or Sam Torrance.
“I will try and be the guy to put the arm around the shoulder, but I will definitely be more on the Bernhard Langer style of being practical, and try and be organised and give the guys as much help as I can.
“Outside of that, just like Steve said, you try and pick up from all the captains over the years the good and the bad, and try and develop the good. There won’t be too much – I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here.
“I don’t have new ideas that are going to come in and revolutionise how we captain a team or a European Team. Just going to try to be more of the same and present all the options to my players so that they are in the best possible position to play their own games and their best games.”