Lee Westwood has ruled himself out of contention to be Europe’s 2020 Ryder Cup captain and is instead backing Padraig Harrington for the role.
Westwood, 45, had previously expressed an interest in captaining the team at Whistling Straits but now prefers to wait until the 2022 match in Rome.
“I’d like to be playing in two years’ time,” the Englishman told Sky Sports.
“I think Padraig Harrington is the ideal candidate for the captaincy. I’d prefer to do it in Rome if possible.”
Harrington and Westwood were both vice-captains to Thomas Bjorn for the win at Le Golf National last month.
Three-time major winner Harrington, 47, is the favourite to succeed Dane Bjorn for the matches in two years’ time.
Westwood, Europe’s fifth-highest Ryder Cup points scorer, was thought to be the Irishman’s main rival but instead has his eyes on the 2022 matches at Marco Simone near Rome.
‘Harrington is the favourite’
The European captain is selected by a panel featuring European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, a member of the Tour’s players’ committee and the previous three captains, which this time will be Bjorn plus Irishmen Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley.
Bjorn, who will play alongside Harrington and Westwood in the first two rounds of this week’s British Masters at Walton Heath, has suggested Harrington is now the front-runner for 2020.
“There’s a process to go through and I think you’ve got to look at whether we are covering all bases,” he said.
“But I’ve always said when you’ve got somebody that’s a three-time major champion and has the pedigree 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.
“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 selection panel is to meet in December to discuss Europe’s next captain.