Pádraig Harrington names Luke Donald as Ryder Cup vice-captain
Captain believes competition can ‘take one for the world of team sport’ and go ahead
Pádraig Harrington has named Luke Donald as one of his Europe vice-captains for the Ryder Cup. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
The biennial event between Europe and the United States is scheduled to take place from September 25th-27th at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, although the coronavirus pandemic has left it in doubt.
There have been 13 events cancelled or postponed so far on the PGA Tour, with the action scheduled to resume on June 8th.
Players such as Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are not in favour of the event being held behind closed doors but Harrington wants the much-anticipated event to go ahead for the good of the game.
Harrington admitted on Sky Sports Golf: “None of the players want a Ryder Cup without the fans. The reason we play the Ryder Cup is for the glory of being out there, we get the opportunity of being like a footballer out in the middle of a stadium with people cheering.
“That doesn’t happen unless you’re winning a tournament and you’re the home favourite but at the Ryder Cup that happens all the way through for six days. The players crave that – they don’t get paid to play – so they crave that opportunity for glory.
“No one wants to play behind closed doors but they [tournament organisers] are keeping a prudent eye on it and they know if the PGA Tour events in June go off well behind closed doors it’s a possibility.
“The players don’t want it but we might have to take one for the world of team sport and put an event on that people can watch. It wouldn’t be the same for us but we’re craving sport on TV.”
The 48-year-old Dubliner continued: “I keep saying if they put on any live sport, a lower division football game, we’d all be watching it because we want to see something live, something that’s unexpected.
“The unpredictability of an event would be nice, you don’t realise what you miss.”
Europe were led by Thomas Bjorn when they won the 2018 event and Harrington hinted at a new vice-captain in an interview on Tuesday, revealing he had spoken on the phone to “Luke”.
Ryder Cup Europe later tweeted confirmation that Donald had been added as a second vice-captain, with Sweden’s Robert Karlsson appointed in September 2019.
Donald, whose four Ryder Cup appearances as a player have all resulted in European wins, had earlier posted on Twitter: “I thought this was supposed to be a secret padraig_h.”
Former world number one Donald last appeared at a Ryder Cup as a player at the 2012 ‘Miracle of Medinah’ and recorded an impressive 10.5 points out of a possible 15.