EUROPEAN captain Paul McGinley has named Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal as his final vice-captains for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles later this month.
The trio have 17 Ryder Cup appearances between them and join Des Smyth and Sam Torrance in McGinley’s back-room staff as the home side look to retain the trophy against the United States from September 26-28.
Olazabal played in the contest seven times and captained the side in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, while Harrington has made six appearances and Jimenez four. Jimenez was vice-captain to Seve Ballesteros in 1997 and Olazabal two years ago and was also made captain of the European team in the inaugural EurAsia Cup by McGinley.
McGinley said: “I know it’s been common in the past to have three or four vice-captains but I’ve gone for five because I feel an extra person is justified due to the additional workload which comes from being the home team, in addition to how well I saw such a system working when we ended up having five vice captains under Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor in 2010 (Sergio Garcia was a late addition).
“Padraig is my oldest friend on Tour and is a guy I have known most of my life. We went to school together, came through the amateur ranks together and have been together in many contests for both Ireland and Europe over the years, so I know what he can bring to the team room.
“As far as Miguel is concerned, he is someone that the spectators love as well as being very popular with all the players. However, he is also a person that I respect very much. I have sat beside him for over a decade on the Tournament Players’ Committee and have seen him exhibit an integrity on many occasions that is very admirable.
“Finally, Jose Maria’s passion for the Ryder Cup is recognised the world over. It was obvious in his legendary partnership with Seve and was also so very apparent two years ago at Medinah, so I’m delighted he has accepted my invitation to be involved again, once more maintaining that important continuity.”
“I have complete confidence and trust in all five of my vice-captains and the help they will give me in the difficult quest of trying to retain the Ryder Cup.”
Harrington said: “I am really looking forward to being part of the Ryder Cup from a different angle to the playing side. That aspect of things is something that really interests me and I’m therefore delighted that Paul has given me the opportunity.
“Paul is a good friend of mine and I think he’s done a great job in the captaincy thus far, therefore I don’t necessarily think he needs that much help. But he knows I’m happy to get involved behind the scenes to give him and the players as much assistance as I can.”
Jimenez, whose EurAsia Cup team secured a dramatic 10-10 draw in Malaysia in March, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being captain of Europe at the EurAsia Cup which was a great opportunity for me and I am looking forward to bringing the experience I gained there to the team room at Gleneagles. I have a great relationship with all the players, having played alongside them regularly over the years.”
Olazabal added: “Everyone knows how much the Ryder Cup has meant in my career and it’s an occasion that I love being part of. It is a unique and special event - and I know that will be the case once again in Scotland in three weeks’ time.
“I think we have a very good team in place but, as Paul said yesterday, we are under no illusions about how formidable a test the United States team will present. But he knows I will do everything I possibly can to help him and the players throughout the week.”
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who had been widely tipped to be a vice-captain, wrote on Twitter: “Extremely disappointed not to be involved at Ryder Cup but all the best to all of the European team #goeurope.”