European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn has announced that Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood will join Robert Karlsson to complete the European Vice Captain line-up for the matches against the United States at Le Golf National in Paris from September 28-30.
The quartet will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Dane’s backroom team, courtesy of a combined 24 Ryder Cup appearances, joining Swede Karlsson, who featured in the 2006 and 2008 contests, to bring that total figure to 26. Between them, Donald, Harrington, Karlsson, McDowell and Westwood have also amassed a total of 56 points for Europe over the 19-year spell from 1997 to 2016.
Speaking at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, Bjørn said: “I am delighted that I will have people of the calibre of Luke, Padraig, Robert, Graeme, Lee alongside me at Le Golf National.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 and understanding of what to expect from the golf course at Le Golf National too.
“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.They all possess strong personalities, but each of them will also bring something different to the team, giving us great balance. They have forthright opinions, which is vital under the spotlight of a Ryder Cup week, and is something which can only help our cause as we try and regain the trophy.”
Westwood said: “I am honoured to have been selected by Thomas to be one of what I think is a pretty impressive quintet of vice captains. Having been fortunate to play in the last ten matches, I am looking forward to contributing to Europe’s cause in a slightly different way at this year’s contest.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, in assisting Thomas in his role as Captain.
The qualification campaign for the 2018 European team concludes at the Made in Denmark tournament on September 2. This week’s BMW PGA Championship marks the next phase in the qualification process with points earned at European Tour events from Wentworth until Made in Denmark multiplied by 1.5 on both the World Points List and the European Point List.