The countdown to the 2018 Ryder Cup has stepped up a notch after Thomas Bjorn revealed his five European Team Ryder Cup vice-captains for the clash with their United States rivals in Paris in September.
Bjorn will lead the European team at Le Golf National in the French capital as he bids to regain the Ryder Cup from America, who will be captained by Jim Furyk in the international event between September 28-30.
European Team Ryder Cup vice-captains
Bjorn has called on some former Ryder Cup teammates to be his right-hand men in Paris; he confirmed Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood will be vice-captains, joining Robert Karlsson—who had previously been revealed—in a five-strong back-up team.
The decision would suggest that Donald, Harrington, McDowell or Westwood won’t be considered as captain’s picks when it comes to Bjorn finalising the 12-man line-up that will face the United States.
What Bjorn has gone for is a wealth of Ryder Cup experience, with the five vice-captains having appeared in 26 Ryder Cup matches between them and been on the winning side eight times. The quintet have featured in Ryder Cups between 1997 and 2016 and collected 56 points between them.
“I am delighted not only to make this announcement but also in the knowledge that I will have people of the calibre of Luke, Padraig, Robert, Graeme, Lee alongside me at Le Golf National,” said Bjorn.
“All five are widely respected throughout the game, are all current players who are well-known to the players who will be in our team come September, and they also all possess a knowledge and understanding of what to expect from the golf course at Le Golf National too.
“You only need to look at the record books to see that their Ryder Cup pedigree speaks for itself. Each of them has played both home and away so they are well versed in the contest and know how to handle the special and unique atmosphere.
“They all possess strong personalities but each of them will also bring something different to the team, giving us great balance. They have forthright opinions which is vital under the spotlight of a Ryder Cup week and is something which can only help our cause as we try and regain the trophy.”
Harrington and McDowell bring major winning experience to the backroom team as well as a wealth of Ryder Cup knowledge, too. Three-time major winner Harrington played in six editions, while four-time European team member McDowell famously sunk the winning putt at Celtic Manor in 2010. McDowell also brings course expertise having twice won at Le Golf National on the European Tour.
Donald featured in four Ryder Cup victories, collecting 10.5 points from 15 matches for Europe, while Westwood has been a stalwart of the side since making his debut in 1997. He has played in the last 10 Ryder Cups—only Sir Nick Faldo has more appearances—and emerged victorious on eight occasions, scoring 23 points along the way. Karlsson, meanwhile, twice represented Europe in the event.
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