McIlroy tips Westwood, Bjorn, Harrington for possible 2018 captaincy


Rory McIlroy suggested Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn or Padraig Harrington could lead Europe in their bid to regain the Ryder Cup in 2018.

Under the guidance of Darren Clarke, Europe were beaten 17-11 by a strong United States team at Hazeltine as the hosts claimed their first victory since 2008.

Bjorn was on the winning side two years ago at Gleneagles, while Harrington served as vice-captain under Paul McGinley at that event and also under Clarke this time around.

Westwood is a Ryder Cup veteran, his appearance at Hazeltine his 10th, although it was not a happy weekend as he lost all three matches, including 1up to Ryan Moore in Sunday's singles having been two up with three to play.

McIlroy was quick to defend the captaincy of Clarke, and suggested Westwood, Bjorn or Harrington could take the reins in Paris in two years.

"He couldn't have done anything else, he's been a fantastic captain," McIlroy told reporters. 

"How great of an atmosphere he created, it was fantastic and I think that's why even in defeat we're still quite jubilant because we've had a great week, regardless of the result.

"It depends who feels like they're ready for it. You've got someone like a Lee Westwood, and Thomas Bjorn, and Padraig obviously, he might be trying to go for it.

"That would be three Irish captains in a row which I don't know how that would feel but it could be any one of those guys who were there.

"The culture of the European Tour, because we have so much support around us, we obviously need a leader but it could be any one of a number of guys, I think."

When asked if he thought the 2016 vintage was a transitional team for Europe, McIlroy replied: "Yes, definitely. It goes in cycles.

"It's the first time with this many rookies since 2010 and I think you'll see a lot of these guys come back and play the next time."