Henrik Stenson backs new Europe Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington to shine

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Henrik Stenson is backing new Europe captain Padraig Harrington to lead their defence of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in 2020.

Harrington was named as skipper last week having proved himself as a player and a three-time vice-captain.

Stenson, who has been part of five winning Ryder Cup teams, believes the Irishman ticks all the boxes as the right man to guide Europe to a first title on American soil since Medinah in 2012.

“On my end it was very expected,” the 42-year-old said ahead of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“It felt like that he was kind of next in line and that he’s up and ready for it. He’s been a vice captain and he’s played on numerous Ryder Cup teams. He’s been a world-class player for many, many years, and a very successful one, as well.

“I think he’ll bring his calmness. He’s kind of even-keeled. Not really super highs and super lows with Padraig. He kind of stays balanced.

“I think each one of the captains have got to put their own twist on it, and he’ll bring his own personality and experience and thoughts on what he would like to see.

“I think he’ll just make it his own and he’ll be a good captain.”

Stenson endured a mixed 2018 season due to a troublesome elbow injury that hampered large spells of his campaign.

But a minor procedure after the Ryder Cup in October worked in the Swede’s favour and he finished the season in style with fourth places finishes in Indonesia and the Hero World Challenge as well as T12 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The former Abu Dhabi resident has always had a reputation as a player who prospers on tough courses and has reiterated his desire to clinch the Falcon Trophy – the one Middle East trophy missing from his mantlepiece.

And with two runners-up finishes, the Florida resident will be aiming to make it 14th time lucky when he tees off alongside the likes of Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood at Abu Dhabi Golf Club this weekend.

He said: I’t’s always tough winning golf tournaments, and I think it’s equally as hard to try and guess or tell when that’s going to happen.

“Motivation is a big part and feeling fresh and ready to go is always important ingredients in playing well, and a good track record is also something that can help.

“We’ll try and make it happen this year.”

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