Was there anyone else in the frame?
"It's something I did think long and hard about", he added. "We've had some great captains over the past number of years".
Harrington played at Whistling Straits in the PGA Championships held at the course in 2004, 2010, and 2015, missing the cut on the two most recent occasions.
"Their confidence in me is hopefully going to be well-placed", Harrington said. "The current players who are going to play under me have been very supportive". He played on four winning teams at the tournament. The only American player to tee up in the French Open at the same venue previous year - Justin Thomas - was unsurprisingly the top points scorer for Jim Furyk's side, and that was telling.
He has learnt from some of the great European captains and golfing figures - Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie, Paul McGinley - and said he will take little bits from each in a bid to maintain Europe's dominance in the event. Paul is a fastidious, meticulous, incremental thinker and everything he does is super-organised.
Team USA has yet to announce its captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup. He raised the bar, created the blueprint for future captains.
Justin Rose, who was part of Bjorn's victorious team in France, was among those who also offered their congratulations, along with one of Harrington's ex-Ryder Cup colleagues Luke Donald. He's the guy you want to play.
Padraig Harrington was named European Ryder Cup captain on Tuesday
"He gives so much to the Ryder Cup; the Ryder Cup gives so much back to Rory that he can't get anywhere else".
"I think Steve will be a nice Ryder Cup captain".
The three-time major champion was the overwhelming favourite to succeed Thomas Bjorn, who led Europe to a famous seven-point win at Le Golf National in an impressive response to Team USA's resounding triumph at Hazeltine in 2016.
It offers inspiration for all the younger golfers coming through of what can be achieved if you match work ethic with talent on the course.
Fred Couples is a contender, while I doubt if Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson will be right for the job next year.
The desire to intellectualise, even mythologise the role of a Ryder Cup captain has reached such farcical levels of late, you might believe it demands the esoteric judgement of a nuclear physicist.
Harrington has a wealth of experience when it comes to the Ryder Cup. "It's not something I went into lightly". If you go to a former winning skipper, that in itself is a statement of weakness in my book. "I am very much looking forward to taking on this role". His actions are all about the Ryder Cup. "I want to be a winning captain".