The 47-year-old joins Paul McGinley (2014) and Darren Clarke (2016), as professionals from the island of Ireland to lead Europe and will be hoping to emulate the last European triumph on American soil - at Medinah in 2012 - as Europe defend the trophy won memorably at Le Golf National last September.
And after Thomas Bjorn led Europe to victory last October those on the winning the European Team, including Rory Mcllroy and Justin Rose, have been out-spoken in declaring they want "continuation" in the naming of the 2020 European Captain.
The Irishman said: 'Obviously I'm thrilled to be named as Ryder Cup captain for 2020, it's not something I went into lightly.
"I think what they are really saying is that they liked what they saw and they would like a continuation of what they have seen and not to rock the boat too much. So I am putting something on the line going out there".
"I want to hopefully leave the European Tour and Ryder Cup in a better place after two years". "But it's not something that I take on without a certain amount of trepidation".More news: Australian Open: Federer to face Istomin, Djokovic to meet qualifier
Harrington has been encouraged by what he said was the "unanimous" support of Europe's players and former captains. "That man loves the Ryder Cup".
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.
"I have to understand that it's very black and white".
Harrington has been a vice-captain in each of the last three editions after making six appearances as a player, four of which resulted in victories for Europe, and he has been charged with the responsibility of retaining the trophy in Wisconsin.
"It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players", Harrington added.More news: Marvel teases Fantastic Four content coming to Spider-Man PS4
"He gets the glory, the opportunity to be loved on the golf course".
"But I also played under Bernhard Langer, who was like a school teacher". They want to see what I have to give, which is nice.
"You know when you're going up against a guy like that that he is mentally tough and strong". Even mentioning a cup of coffee has been known to tip him into angst about how best to make one.
Harrington has promised to "find an edge" but it's the United States who are favourites to land the Ryder Cup on home soil at 8/13, with Harrington a 6/4 shot to win the match and defend the trophy the Europeans won so emphatically in Paris previous year.More news: Australian Open 2019 men's draw: Roger Federer defends