Padraig Harrington says he has no reason to doubt Rory McIlroy's intentions of playing in the Ryder Cup in 2020.
The Dubliner was confirmed as captain on Tuesday and in doing so became the third Irish golfer to hold the role since 2014, following in the footsteps of Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.
Harrington’s appointment is an impressive achievement in itself because there wasn’t an Irish captain between 1927 and 2014.
One of his first tasks will be to convince the world that Rory McIlroy is committed to the cause.
The 29-year-old has already stated that he will probably relinquish his European tour card as he focuses on playing in the USA.
The Ulsterman has only two events European events in his diary so far but needs to play a minimum of four tournaments barring majors and the WGC events to maintain membership on the tour.
“My life's here. I have an American wife. I live in America,” McIlroy said a week ago.
“Honestly, I enjoy it here more. The way of life is easier, the weather, the convenience.
“The ultimate goal is here.
“The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the truth. The European Tour is a stepping stone. That's the way it is," he said.
“It's tough. I still want to support the European Tour, and I talk about this loyalty thing with Europe, it's not as though I'm just starting out and jumping ship.
“I've done my time. I've done everything I feel like I need to do to say OK, I'm going to make my own decisions and do what I want.”
New European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has his say on the job ahead... pic.twitter.com/mS9duK7drB
— Golf Monthly (@GolfMonthly) January 8, 2019
"That man loves the Ryder Cup."
McIlroy’s commitment to the cause was high on the agenda when Harrington faced the press for the first time as Ryder Cup captain, the Dubliner is sure that his compatriot will once again be a key part of Team Europe for the showdown with the states:
“That man loves the Ryder Cup. He's become a leader in the team room,” said Harrington.
“He gives so much to the Ryder Cup; the Ryder Cup gives so much back to Rory that he can't get anywhere else.
“He gets the glory, the opportunity to be loved on the golf course. He gets the exuberance, the crowd.
“You don't get that day in, day out. You don't get that regularly. His actions are all about the Ryder Cup.
“He will be 100 per cent behind and in that Ryder Cup team, there's no doubt about it. You just have to know the man behind the scenes.”