Dubliner Padraig Harrington will serve as vice-captain for a third consecutive tournament at this year’s Ryder Cup in France.
Harrington and fellow Irishman Graeme McDowell have been selected by Danish captain Thomas Bjorn along with English duo Lee Westwood and Luke Donald and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson who was the first assistant picked, in May of last year.
As the only man of the five selected to have performed the role previously, Harrington believes he can provide some worthy support to the Danish boss.
“I think after having been vice-captain twice, I realise how much work is behind the scenes in supporting the captain,” Harrington said today. “We all know...the teams are so well [matched] nowadays, that the captain can make all the difference. He needs all the support he can get and there is a lot going on during the week. It’s nice to be back again to do it.”
The 46-year-old Rathfarnham man has also been impressed by what he has seen of Bjorn’s preparation work so far.
“I’ve known Thomas since 1996 when he beat me for ‘Rookie of the Year’ so we’ve had very close careers over the years. We’ve had a meeting or two now and everything I’ve heard so far, really is on the right track. We like what we’re hearing from Thomas and it looks like it’s all heading in the right direction.”
The European team has had five vice-captains for three of the last four Ryder Cup tournaments and Bjorn is in no doubt that there is plenty of work to be shared around.
“There’s four games on the golf course the first two days, morning and afternoon, and it’s nice to have eyes and ears with each match,” said Bjorn. “But then there’s four guys sitting out and it’s nice to have some eyes and ears with them as well.
“The captain, from speaking to past captains and watching it four times as a vice-captain, you feel like the week goes so quickly past them and they can’t be everywhere. So you’ve got to have people around you that you trust one hundred per cent, that you believe in, that have the same values as you for what we’re going to do that week.
“Five is, for me, the right number but when I’ve spoken to past captains they would also say to you that that is the right number. That is the number that works, it’s a number that gets everything done for the week but you need to have good people in those roles.
“We have a history of having good people in those roles but I’m really, really happy with the people I have in the roles for this [tournament].”
This year's Ryder Cup takes place from September 25-30 at Le Golf National, Paris.