European captain Padraig Harrington is set to end the 43rd Ryder Cup a marked man – win or lose at Whistling Straits.
Thomas Bjorn followed through on his promise to get a tattoo done after captaining Europe's 17.5-10.5 win at Le Golf National in Paris three years ago – for his girlfriend Grace's eyes only – and the three-time major winner Harrington is happy to oblige this new tradition.
'Mind-blowing' – US PGA champion Thomas on why Woods' mental strength will boost recovery
- Ryder Cup 2021: Man-by-man ratings
- Why Sutton nightmare experiment should help Stricker handle Brooks and Bryson feud
“I am delighted that that's all they ask for, but I'd have given up a lot more. So yes, I will be getting a tattoo,” said Harrington.
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.
Harrington will get tattoo if Europe win Ryder Cup
“It's a given now in Europe. Captain has to get a tattoo. And I don't have any other tattoos at this stage, so it would be a new experience for me.”
Of course, Harrington is likely to have other things on his mind if his side fail to perform at Whistling Straits.
Losing Ryder Cup captains are rarely shielded from blame.
To the victor, the spoils, the loser ends up confronting a level of regret and recrimination that makes the captain's experience a winner-takes-all contest in every sense.
Sometimes, the business at hand can go beyond merely choosing the right players for the job.
Before Europe's 17-11 drubbing by the US at Hazeltine five years ago, captain Darren Clarke ended up having to confront an article written by the brother of former Masters champion Danny Willett in which his brother berated American golf fans.
Nick Faldo was infamously lambasted by local media following Europe's 16.5-11.5 defeat to the US at Valhalla in 2008 from everything to accidentally showing his first day pairings to photographers, handling journalists with as much aplomb as a fresh air swipe and butchering his speech at the closing ceremony.
Phil Mickelson eviscerated Tom Watson's captaincy of the US side after the 16.5-11.5 loss at Gleneagles in 2014.
“It’s a thankless job, being a captain," said US captain Hal Sutton following his side's record 18.5-9.5 beating at Oakland Hills in 2004 that saw him castigated for having the foresight to play Tiger Woods alongside MIckelson on the opening day.
It is not fraternising with hyperbole to suggest Harrington's tattoo would be a mark of success that he can hardly do without.
Losing leaves its own scar.
For the latest news and sharpest analysis on golf, visit GolfDigest.com
'Very, very special' – Thomas wins play-off to claim second US PGA title
Woods withdraws as unheralded Pereira leads US PGA Championship
Share this article