European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal has named Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley as his vice-captains ahead of the 2012 Match at Chicago’s Medinah Country Club, from September 28-30.
Bjorn, Clarke and McGinley have played in ten Ryder Cups between them – with nine combined victories – and represent a strong, popular and knowledgeable ‘Backroom Team’ after combining to help the Europeans regain the Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010.
“I could not be more delighted than to have Thomas, Darren and Paul as vice-captains, especially as we bonded so well supporting Colin Montgomerie in 2010,” said Olazabal, who played in seven Ryder Cups and was a vice-captain in 2008 and 2010.
“All three are world class golfers with tremendous experience of playing in the Ryder Cup, which is absolutely invaluable.
“For me to have these guys – all such great friends – by my side is fantastic. I know, like me, they will now be counting down the days to Medinah with one aim – to return home with the cup,” he added.
“Thomas, Darren and Paul share a special spirit and love for the game, and they have the respect and admiration of everyone in golf.”
Bjorn became the first Danish player to compete in the Ryder Cup in 1997, where he was unbeaten. He was also on the winning team in 2002, and a vice-captain to Bernhard Langer at Oakland Hills in 2004, and Montgomerie at Celtic Manor in 2010.
“I’m delighted to be invited by Jose Maria Olazabal and to be one of his vice-captains. We know that an experienced backroom team can make a big difference,” said Bjorn.
Clarke, who also made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997, said: “I am really pleased to be part of Jose Maria’s team. Make no mistake, this is a very strong backroom team, because we have been there before and done it before.
“We’ll be seeking to use our experience and to re-create that terrific team spirit and bonding that has made the European team room such a special place to be for so many years.”
Ireland’s McGinley memorably holed the winning putt on debut at The Belfry in 2002, and has a 100% winning record from the three Matches he has participated in.
“I am thrilled to be part of Team Europe again and I would like to keep that unbeaten run going,” he said.
The European Team will be finalised on August 27, after Olazabal announces his two captain’s picks at a special press conference at the Gleneagles Hotel.
Eight of the American team are already known, with four captain’s picks to be announced by Davis Love 3rd on September 4.