Team Europe adds two major winners as Ryder Cup vice captains
Two major winners, and Ryder Cup stalwarts, were added as European vice captains Wednesday morning.
European captain Padraig Harrington announced Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell will join Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson as assistants for his staff at this year’s biennial event at Whistling Straits.
“They have both contributed winning points in Ryder Cup history, have been there and done it, and the other players look up to them,” Harrington said in a statement. “They both have that aura and responsibility in that what they say will have meaning.”
A former World No. 1, Kaymer won his first major at Whistling Straits at the 2010 PGA Championship, defeating Bubba Watson in a playoff to earn the Wanamaker Trophy. Kaymer, 36, has played in four Ryder Cups, three of which were wins for Team Europe, highlighted by Kaymer sinking the clinching putt to complete the “Miracle”—or depending on your rooting interests, “Meltdown”—at Medinah in 2012.
Kaymer said he still hopes to make the team as a player, although he’s currently listed 36th in team rankings. But no matter his role Kaymer asserted he wants to be a part of the Ryder Cup experience.
“I admit it took me a while to say yes, because it’s a responsibility and if I do something I want to do it properly, so we talked about the role,” Kaymer said. “I’m not the type of guy who is into numbers and statistics. I’m more the person talking to the guys, more of the personal stuff, a bit more of the mental side. I feel like I’m a fairly calm person when I’m playing golf and through my experience I know what they all go through, whether that’s the guys that might be playing the Ryder Cup for the first time or guys that I have played Ryder Cups with before, so I think I understand the feelings quite well.”
Added Harrington: “Martin is somebody I wanted as a vice captain because he has a great personality and brings a calmness, a European element, and a lot of confidence with him.”
McDowell will be making his second stint as an assistant, helping out Thomas Bjorn at the 2018 Ryder Cup. The former U.S. Open champ has also played in four Ryder Cups, three of them European victories, scoring nine points in 15 matches. He also cliched the winning point at the 2010 Ryder Cup.
“I knew Padraig wanted me as part of the staff and it’s a huge honor,” McDowell said. “Padraig is one of my heroes and such an iconic figure in Irish golf. To have him captaining a Ryder Cup team is fantastic for Europe.”
The 2021 Ryder Cup begins Sept. 25. The Europeans are the defending champs.