The European Ryder Cup team is starting to take shape — at least on the coaching front.
European captain Thomas Bjorn on Tuesday announced that Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood will join the team as vice captains. They’ll join Robert Karlsson, who was previously announced as a vice captain.
Donald, 40, Harrington, 46, McDowell, 38, and Westwood, 45, have combined for 24 Ryder Cup appearances, and the squad’s five vice captains have combined for 56 points in their Ryder Cup careers.
“You only need to look at the record books to see that their Ryder Cup pedigree speaks for itself,” Bjorn said. “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.”
Westwood is one of the Europeans’ most accomplished Ryder Cup players in history. His 23 points rank fourth all time and he’s just two shy of Nick Faldo’s record of 25. Westwood, however, is coming off one of his most disappointing Ryder Cups, having finished 0-3 at Hazeline in 2016. He is the only vice captain who played on that team. Westwood ranks 32nd on the European points list, which is the highest among the team’s vice-captains, although at this point it seems unlikely he’ll be a playing vice captain. Since the end of 2016 he’s dropped from 42nd in the World Ranking to 94th, and he’s played in just five events this year.
The 42nd Ryder Cup is Sept. 28-30 at Le Golf National located just outside of Paris, France. The Europeans have won eight of the last 11, but the Americans are the defending champs having won 17-11 at Hazeltine in Minnesota in 2016.