Harrington "consumed" by Ryder Cup as gun goes: "I'm hoping that dies down"

Harrington "consumed" by Ryder Cup as gun goes: "I'm hoping that dies down"

Pádraig Harrington has been Ryder Cup captain for less than a week but already admitted that he's "consumed" by the job and hoping things calm down as he eases into his 20-month journey.

The Dubliner (47) confessed that he was so drained by his first afternoon as skipper that he had to go to bed and has been regularly taking naps since his unveiling at Wentworth.

"I can't believe how much it is consuming my thinking at the moment," he told the US-based Fairways of Life podcast yesterday. "And I am surprised about that.

"When I finished [at Wentworth], I couldn't believe how much I had hit a wall. I had to go back, eat and go to bed straight away. 

Pádraig and Caroline Harrington

Pádraig and Caroline Harrington

"I had to get two hours sleep to get any sort of recovery. All week I have had to go for afternoon naps because of the extra stress and load. I assume that will tone down.

"With my experience, I can talk to business leaders and it takes a couple of hours preparation, and it doesn't stress me. 

"But I am consumed by this Ryder Cup now and I am hoping that dies down and I don't continue to think about it as much."

The Dubliner reiterated the importance of Rory McIlroy as a leader but also explained that he's desperate to have record points-scorer Sergio Garcia on his 2020 team at Whistling Straits.

"Rory is a leader amongst his peers and it is so satisfactory for the players to be given that responsibility by his peers," he said. "Sergio does that in the team room. 

"Sergio got a pick this time but I'd be desperate that he plays well enough or gets the pick next time because he does such a great job in that team room."

As for playing away, he's not taking anything for granted, despite Europe's seven-point win in Paris.

"We fear the US much more now than we ever did," he said, pointing to the Presidents Cup as a key factor for the Americans as they seek partnerships and a good dynamic.

"I don't think the US has anything broken to be honest. Okay, they didn't get it right it Paris but I'd be more worried about them getting it right in Whistling Straits."

As he believes he will be more a Bernhard Langer than a Sam Torrance when it comes to putting an arm around a player, he needs the big characters in his team room to take on the he majority of rah-rah duties.

Harrington broke his wrist in a fall on the stairs at home on December 7 but hopes to have the cast removed within the next fortnight and get back to playing golf at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am next month.

Sergio got a pick this time but I’d be desperate that he plays well enough or gets the pick next time because he does such a great job in that team room.
— Pádraig Harrington

“Clearly it's 20 months away and it needs some work but not full time,” he said of mixing Ryder Cup duties with his playing career.

“So hopefully I will be able to play some golf, because I still like playing golf. I mightn't be as committed and as competitive as I was 10 years ago but I like what I do. So I still want that for the next couple of years, as much as being Ryder Cup captain. But the Ryder Cup captain comes first.”

He won't be sweating the small stuff, like the colour of the shirts or the seating order at the official functions.

He said: “There will be a lot of delegation in this 20 months. I am pretty good at that. I I am not interested in managing something that doesn't make my team play better. I don't really care what the napkins look like. That's not something I would be interested in. That's not my sort of stuff. My wife will be involved in the clothing and stuff like that. I am not interested.


“I am interested in what makes my players play better and me getting to know those. And hopefully being in a position when the Ryder Cup comes around, that I will pick two three or four guys that will complement the team and then when we get there, make those guys play the best we can.”

Harrington’s generosity in interviews is one of his strongest traits and he went the extra mile for Richard Kaufman in an excellent, wide-ranging chat on “The Round of Golf Podcast” which gets into the nitty gritty of the mindset of what made the Dubliner a three-time major winner.

The keys that prompted him to change his swing, the pivotal US Open round at Winged Foot in 2006 that convinced him he could win a major without playing out of his skin, his admiration for Bob Torrance’s life view and the importance his near 30-year love story with his wife Caroline, are all covered in depth.

Meanwhile, McIlroy's commitment to the PGA Tour was underlined yesterday when he was confirmed as one of nine new members of the 16-man Player Advisory Council.

The Co Down man said last year he would be joining to get more involved in the decision-making process on the PGA Tour.

2019 Player Advisory Council (New additions in bold): Ryan Armour, Paul Casey, Roberto Castro, James Hahn, Zach Johnson , Kevin Kisner, Matt Kuchar­­, Anirban Lahiri, Peter Malnati, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Sam Saunders, Josh Teater, Justin Thomas , Michael Thompson.