Ryder Cup: Thomas Bjorn opts for experienced vice-captains

Thursday, 24 May, 2018

The four new vice captains have made a combined 24 appearances for Europe as players in the Ryder Cup.

The European Captain presented veterans Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell as his new supporting team, joining Robert Karlsson who had been announced previous year.

For now the lofty status of the US is emphasised by their holding of the Ryder Cup, Walker Cup, Solheim Cup, Presidents Cup, all four major championships and, thanks to Justin Thomas, the No 1 position in the world rankings. "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". Myself and Thomas have known each other many years and anything I can do to have a bit of input and help, I will gladly do'.

"So when Thomas asked me to take that role I was obviously delighted and jumped at the chance".

However, the appointments of Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell were a surprise, if only because they are only 40 and 38 respectively. "We know they are going to field a very strong team and be very confident but I think we've proved ourselves over the last 20 years or so that we can compete at that team level in a Ryder Cup". I'm focusing on: 'Can I see us winning with the players that we have?' Absolutely we can because the margins in the world of golf today are so small.

Harrington has played on six teams, the first one in 1999.

"I'm excited to take on a slightly different view of things and help the 12 players be as ready as they can to regain this trophy", added McDowell, who hasn't yet ruled out earning a place on the team as a player and has won the French Open twice at this year's venue.

Bjorn's opposite number Jim Furyk has named Davis Love, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as assistants, although Woods has stated his intention to play on the team as well. But on Tuesday, the Dane proved the riches he has at it his disposal as Europe Ryder Cup captain by summoning two major winners and two former world No 1s into his backroom staff.

The 2018 Ryder Cup itself, the 42nd staging of the contest, will be played at Le Golf National, France, from September 28-30, where Europe will try to regain the trophy following defeat at Hazeltine National a year ago, with the aiming of extending an impressive winning record on home soil which stretches back to Valderrama in 1997.