by Ronan MacNamara
Padraig Harrington by Golffile
Pádraig Harrington has vowed to get a tattoo if his European side can upset the odds and win the Ryder Cup away from home for the first time since 2012 at Whistling Straits this week.
His predecessor, Thomas Bjorn seems to have struck up a trend as following Europe’s 17.5 to 10.5 rout of the USA at Le Golf National in 2018 the great Dane fulfilled a premeditated promise he made to his players and got his body inked up with the trophy and the score.
"I am delighted that that's all they ask for but I'd have given up a lot more," Harrington said.
"So yes, I will be getting a tattoo. If my team produce a winning week, I will be getting a tattoo to mark the occasion, and very comfortable that they only asked that much of me because I would have given more.
"I think it's an unwritten rule, so it has come up, yes, in conversation. Maybe they didn't ask. Maybe I offered and they felt that was enough. But definitely, yeah, it's a given now in Europe. Captain has to get a tattoo.
He stuck to his promise!— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 24, 2018
Thomas Bjorn got a Ryder Cup tattoo "on a part that only Grace [his girlfriend] will see". pic.twitter.com/VjqYVAGBdg
"And I don't have any other tattoos at this stage, so it would be a new experience for me.
"Where on the body? I don't know. It depends... no, I can't go that route. Depends how long it is,” he added.
Harrington has quite an experienced side at his disposal with an average age of 34 and a combined 38 starts throughout the team compared to just the 12 starts in Steve Stricker’s camp.
Europe have four players in their 40s with Lee Westwood the elder statesman at 48 while Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter round off the famed old guard for the away side.
Harrington also has three rookies on his team who are by no means newbies on the world stage. Shane Lowry is an Open champion, he won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2015 and won a Rolex Series event on the European Tour as well as a host of top-10 finishes in major championships and standout PGA Tour events.
Bernd Wiesberger, perennially known as the class act on the European Tour without truly gracing the top table, boasts two Rolex Series wins; and Viktor Hovland is a two time PGA Tour winner and won his maiden European Tour title at the BMW International in Germany this season.
Captain Harrington is delighted with how his debutants have settled so far this week but Hovland - who becomes Norway's first Ryder Cup player just over two years after turning professional – has stood out.
"It's hard to believe he could exceed (expectations), but he's been brilliant," he said.
"He's just great to be around. He's at the centre of a lot of the banter and fun and he's excellent I've got to say.
"We kind of knew that about Viktor but Tyrell (Hatton) was that guy in 2018 and you kind of see the personality on the golf course but his personality in the locker room is completely different.
"I wouldn't say that about Viktor but he's certainly living up to it and he's certainly the centre of a lot of the fun in the locker room.
"Bernd is very relaxed and obviously Shane is right on expectation. They're the rookies in the team. The other guys, I knew what to expect. They've been great."
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