The three-time Major Champion has a storied Ryder Cup career, having represented Europe six times as a player – including being part of four triumphs – while latterly he has brought his extensive experience to the role of Vice-Captain in the past three editions of the biennial contest.
The 47 year old joins Paul McGinley (2014) and Darren Clarke (2016), as professionals from the island of Ireland to lead Europe and will be hoping to emulate the last European triumph on American soil – at Medinah in 2012 – as Europe defend the trophy won memorably at Le Golf National last September.
As a player, Harrington made his Ryder Cup debut at The Country Club in Brookline in 1999 and was ever-present for the following five editions, helping Europe to victory in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010.
He was named as Vice-Captain for the first time by fellow Dubliner McGinley for the victory at Gleneagles in 2014, a role he returned to in 2016 at Hazeltine National under Darren Clarke, and again last September in France under Denmark’s Thomas Bjørn.
The former European Number One has collected 30 titles worldwide and famously secured his first Major in The 2007 Open Championship at Carnoustie, defeating Sergio Garcia in a play-off. He successfully defended the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale the following year and became the first European to win back-to-back Majors when he added the 2008 US PGA Championship at Oakland Hills a few weeks later.
Harrington was chosen as Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent European Ryder Cup Captains – Bjørn, Clarke and McGinley – as well as the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, and European Tour Tournament Committee representative Edoardo Molinari.
Harrington said: “It is a tremendous honour to be named Ryder Cup Captain and I am relishing the next 20 months as we work towards Whistling Straits and Europe’s defence of the trophy.
“I have played under, and been involved with, many wonderful European captains since I made my debut in the contest 20 years ago and I would like to think that my captaincy will be a mix of all of them. I am very much looking forward to taking on this role.”
The Irishman claimed a total of 10½ points over his six Ryder Cup appearances, starting at Brookline in 1999, when he teamed up with Miguel Ángel Jiménez in the day one foursomes to halve with Davis Love III and Payne Stewart before claiming his maiden singles victory, defeating Mark O’Meara by one hole.
His first experience of a European victory came in the next edition at The Belfry in 2002 where he took two points from his four matches – partnering Colin Montgomerie to beat Phil Mickelson and David Toms in the fourballs and defeating Mark Calcavecchia 5 and 4 in the singles.
Harrington’s greatest single match points haul of four from five matches came in Europe’s record-breaking 18½ – 9½ victory at Oakland Hills in 2004. He resumed his partnership with Montgomerie to defeat Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in the fourballs and Davis Love III and Fred Funk in the foursomes, before teaming up with McGinley to beat Love III and Woods in the foursomes, before rounding off with a singles win over Jay Haas.
He was part of another stunning win by the same scoreline two years later, this time on home soil at The K Club in County Kildare, before rounding off his playing career in the contest as part of Europe’s dramatic 14½ – 13½ triumph at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales in 2010, partnering Ross Fisher to victory over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the foursomes and Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson in the fourballs.