Harrington views Gleneagles role as test of future captaincy credentials

Pádraig Harrington’s future as a Ryder Cup player looks less certain than ever after he admitted his appointment as one of Paul McGinley’s five Ryder Cup assistants is a test to see if he’s got the right stuff to become captain himself.

Harrington views Gleneagles role as test of future captaincy credentials

The Dubliner turned 43 last Sunday and having failed to qualify for the last two Ryder Cup teams, while crashing from third to 287th in the world, he’s in position to challenge for the captaincy in 2016 at Hazeltine, 2018 in France or in 2020 at Whistling Straits, when he will be 49.

McGinley will have five assistants at Gleneagles later this month after he added Harrington, 2012 skipper José María Olazábal and four-time Ryder Cup player Miguel Angel Jimenez to a backroom team that already features Des Smyth and Sam Torrance.

And while Harrington joked that he will get a ribbing from peers like Thomas Bjorn, who have threatened to make him fetch bananas and water, he’s determined to serve his apprenticeship and discover if he is captaincy material.

“Absolutely, I’d be interested in it,” Harrington said of his captaincy ambitions.

“Part of being a vice-captain really is finding out whether you’re suitable to do it. It’s a different job being a captain than being a player.

“Being a player, it’s quite a selfish thing. It’s all about you. The captaincy is about man-managing 12 people, being able to get on with all 12 of them and organise things, it’s a different sort of scenario. My record might say, yeah, I look like being a captain, but being a vice-captain and getting in behind the scenes will tell me a lot more and tell the people in the know if I’m the right man to do the job.”

Winless since 2010 and having lost his PGA Tour card, Harrington’s acceptance of a vice-captaincy moves him up the list of contenders for the job in 2018 should Jimenez get the nod for Hazeltine in two years’ time.

McGinley sees Harrington, a boyhood friend, as a man who can give him greater insight into the US Tour players while he has also warned him of the dangers of going beyond his job description.

Harrington said: “Paul has gone into a lot of detail. “And I’ll have to give a special effort when I am there not to give the impression, in any shape or form, that I’m a competitive player.”

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