Europe skipper Thomas Bjorn believes his newly-appointed coterie of Ryder Cup vice-captains will provide invaluable experience in his side’s battle to topple the United States at Le Golf National in Paris in September.
Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald have all been added to Bjorn’s backroom team, joining the already assigned Robert Karlsson of Sweden.
All four, who have a combined 24 appearances as competitors at the Ryder Cup, could technically still qualify to play at the biennial tournament, although it is highly unlikely. Westwood, at 117th, is the only one currently ranked inside the world’s top 200.
Bjorn insists that all five of his selections have “strong personalities” and “forthright opinions”, which are vital as Europe bid to regain the trophy they surrendered, 17-11, at Hazeltine in 2016.
“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 possess a knowledge of what to expect from the course at Le Golf National,” said Bjorn.
“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.”
Bjorn’s opposite number, Jim Furyk, has named Davis Love III, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as United States vice-captains for the showdown which takes place between 28 and 30 September in the French capital.