Harrington has enjoyed a highly successful playing career, capturing
three major championship title along with 28 other professional
victories around the world, and has also made six Ryder Cup appearances
as a player and a further three as a vice-captain.
But while the step up to captain is a natural progression for him,
Harrington knows there is almost just as much to lose by accepting the
role as what there is to gain.
With Europe having enjoyed so much success in recent Ryder Cups, he
is well aware that failure - even away from home - will be judged
"It seems to be the right time and place for me in my career and in
the Ryder Cup profile of other players and whose turn it is," Harrington
told the media during his unveiling at Wentworth. "But just because it
seems like it's my turn, it's not just something I walked into.
"It's something I did think long and hard about. It's possibly easier
to be a Ryder Cup captain at home, but I realised it was good timing in
my career and that it probably was the best chance for me in an
international setting going to the US, having me as their captain at
"So I felt it was the right time for me to go for it, and, when you
talk to the other players, I certainly have their support. When I talked
to the other vice-captains and potential captains going forward, it
seemed to fit very nicely that I go and do the away match.
"Then it really came down to whether I wanted to be in the hat and
put what is a successful career on the line, because you are putting it
on the line when you become Ryder Cup captain. It is a different element
to your career.
"We know a successful captain is great, and a losing captain, you
know, it's his fault. I am putting something on the line going out
there. But once I decided that I wanted to take that chance, put myself
out there, I think then it was just making sure that the European Tour
and the PGA both decided I was the right man, too."
READ: Player hails Harrington's Ryder Cup captaincy role
What ultimately made Harrington decide to accept the role was the
confidence in his own abilities, and his extensive Ryder Cup appearance
both as a player and a vice-captain, during which time he was able to
take a lot from the way other European captains went about the job.
"Obviously I'm thrilled to be named as Ryder Cup captain for 2020,"
he added. "I really want to be a help, and I want to hopefully leave the
Ryder Cup and the European Tour in a better place after two years. It's
going to take a great deal of my time over the next 18 months, figuring
out how can I make our team play to the best of their ability.
"We've had some great captains over the last number of years, and I
suppose I've learned from all of them. I've probably learnt more as
vice-captain than you do as a player, and the difference is amazing. As a
player, you're very one-dimensional with doing your thing and getting
on and performing, but as a vice-captain, you definitely see more.
"It is daunting because you want to do a good job, you want to add to
the Ryder Cup, and Thomas (Bjorn) has left us in a very strong place. He did a
great job, and all the captains I've played under or was vice-captain,
I've learned from every one of them and I will try to bring all that
"Hopefully I will pull it together and say the right things at the
right time, and hopefully get a team and get the best out of that team
that provide a winning performance."