May 27th, 2016
Harrington, Bjorn, and Lawrie named Ryder Cup Vice Captains
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Getty Images
There were no shocks as Darren Clarke named his Ryder Cup Vice Captains. While we’ll always wonder what Miles Tunnicliffe and Russel Claydon could have brought to the role, Clarke went for Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjørn, and Paul Lawrie, and between them they’ve played 111 Ryder Cups. Bjørn and Harrington have both been vice captain in the past too.
With Paul McGinley out of the running, these were pretty expected picks. Bjørn is a three time vice captain, Chairman of the European Tour’s Tournament Committee, and a big voice in European Tour golf. Harrington is a three time Major champion, loading the team with experience in winning majors under the gun, while Paul Laurie is a former Open Champion who played both of his Ryder Cups in America.
Darren Clarke said this at a Press Conference to announce the new Vice Captains at Wentworth today.
“The three bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and their input will be invaluable to Europe's cause. I could not have asked for anybody better to be standing shoulder to shoulder with me in the bid to bring The Ryder Cup home.
“I have known and been close to Thomas for many years and I know just how passionate he is about team golf's greatest competition. He has had a major influence already both on and off the course at previous Ryder Cups and I know that will continue at Hazeltine.
Padraig's outstanding career has included three major championship successes and his presence in the team room will bring a big confidence factor to Europe's 12 representatives.
Paul is a highly respected major championship winner and knows exactly what it will take to reach our intended destination. His calm, considered approach and strength of character will be of immense value.”
Bjørn said: “The Ryder Cup has provided so many of the highlights in my career, both from the three Ryder Cups I’ve played in, and from the three where I assisted Bernhard, Colin and José Maria as a Vice Captain. It is an honour to be a member of the European Ryder Cup team campaign in any capacity and I very much look forward to playing a part in Darren’s team at Hazeltine.”
Harrington said: “I am delighted that Darren has given me this opportunity. I found it really interesting and rewarding helping out Paul and the team at Gleneagles in 2014 and seeing The Ryder Cup from such a different angle. I think I learned a lot from the experience and also from the matches I’ve played in, so I hope I will be able to be of some help to Darren and the players.”
Lawrie said: “I am delighted to be chosen by Darren as a Vice Captain, and it's going to be a great honour to take on this role on US soil at Hazeltine. Having played in two Ryder Cups, both in America, I would hope to draw on those experiences and offer some advice and guidance to the European Team, and continue the momentum to retain The Ryder Cup. Darren will be a fantastic leader, and it's going to be a privilege to be part of his back room team, alongside Thomas and Padraig.”
Two more Vice Captains will be named nearer the event. We’re pretty sure Lee Westwood will be one if he doesn’t make the team, and we think there’s a good shout the other spot goes to Miguel Angel Jimenez. But there's nothing set in stone so there’s hope for Tunnicliffe and Claydon yet…