2018 Ryder Cup: Thomas Bjorn opts for experienced vice-captains
Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson will assist the Team Europe skipper
Team Europe captain Thomas Bjorn has named Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald as his vice-captains for the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Europe will be aiming to regain the cup at Le Golf National in Paris from 28 to 30 September after losing 17-11 to Team USA at Hazeltine two years ago.
Bjorn, who had already selected Sweden’s Robert Karlsson as a vice-captain, says that his five assistants will bring a wealth of knowledge to the team because of their “Ryder Cup pedigree”.
“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 of what to expect from the course at Le Golf National,” Bjorn told the BBC.
“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.”
Westwood, who has played in every Ryder Cup since his debut in 1997, said he is “relishing” the role of being a vice-captain. He said: “I am sure it is going to be a very different experience for me, but I am relishing having a role in helping Europe win in Paris and, in particular, assisting Thomas in his role as captain.
“Of course, my ideal scenario is that I hit a hot streak of form over the summer and force my way into the team. But quite honestly, as long as I am able to contribute to the 2018 European team in some way, I am going to be happy.”
Bjorn’s assistants have played in a combined 26 Ryder Cups with Harrington playing six times and being vice-captain on three occasions. Donald has won the Ryder Cup four times with Europe while McDowell has also played on four teams.
McDowell has won two French Open titles at Le Golf National and he said: “I know that I can contribute a huge amount to the team this year given my experience at the venue and appearances in past Ryder Cups.”
Team USA captain Jim Furyk has already named Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Davis Love III as his vice-captains and two more will soon be announced.