Pádraig Harrington: ‘A successful Ryder Cup team is a successful captain’

Europe’s captain accepts the outcome of next week’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits will have an impact on his golfing legacy

It has never been wise to mistake the eccentric side of Pádraig Harrington for an overarching trait. Harrington is far more intelligent, sagacious and tough than is apparent when he displays a quirky side. A career that has delivered three major championships among more than 30 professional victories means Harrington is widely regarded as the Republic of Ireland’s greatest sportsman. This is not the domain of a clown.

There is now vulnerability. The 50-year-old Harrington will lead Europe into next weekend’s Ryder Cup with the sense – and fear – that his reputation is on the line. “There are very few things that can affect my golfing legacy,” he explains. “If I win another tournament, it doesn’t make much difference. It’s even questionable whether winning another major would. The Ryder Cup impacts my legacy. My ego is attached to my golf and there is no question the Ryder Cup will have an effect on that. Being a losing captain could definitely have an effect on who I feel I am. That’s something that would have to be dealt with.

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