Lee Westwood has ruled himself out of the running to be Europe’s next Ryder Cup captain, leaving Padraig Harrington as the overwhelming favourite to succeed Thomas Bjorn.
Westwood had previously expressed a desire to captain Europe at Whistling Straits in 2020, but said yesterday that he would “wait until Rome” hosts the biennial contest in 2022 to make his bid for the role.
I need a bit of time to figure out if I have that motivation. At 47, after pretty much two years away, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back to playing good golf.Thomas Bjorn
The 45-year-old added later on Sky Sports News that he felt three-time major winner Harrington was the “perfect candidate” and “better equipped” to lead Europe’s attempt to retain the trophy won in convincing style at Le Golf National, where both he and Harrington were vice-captains.
The captain is selected by a panel comprising the previous three captains – Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley – European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and a member of the Tour’s Players Committee.
“There’s a process to go through and I think you’ve got to look at are we covering all bases,” said Bjorn ahead of this week’s British Masters at Walton Heath, where he will play alongside Harrington and Westwood in the first two rounds.
“But I’ve always said when you’ve got somebody that’s a three-time major champion and has the pedigree that Padraig has and holds the respect of the players that he does, it would be difficult to see him not doing it at some stage, and if he wants it this time around, it’s difficult to get around that he is very much the favourite to get the job.”
The panel is scheduled to meet in December, although Bjorn feels there is no need to rush into any decision.
Bjorn said he could call time on his playing career after admitting it will take “something special” to be competitive once again.
He has not recorded a top-10 finish since a year before he was made captain and has slumped to 884th in the world as his own game took a back seat.
“These next few months is just about coming back down to earth and trying to find myself and figure out what’s in store for me going forward,” Bjorn said.
“So I need a bit of time to figure out if I have that motivation. At 47, after pretty much two years away, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get back to playing good golf.”