Bjorn adds 4 assistants with wealth of Ryder Cup experience
VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — Europe is adding a wealth of Ryder Cup experience for the team room with four more assistants to captain Thomas Bjorn.
Lee Westwood, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell are the latest additions to Bjorn’s staff for this year’s matches in France. Bjorn previously named Robert Karlsson as one of his vice captains.
Westwood has played in every Ryder Cup since his debut in 1997 at Valderrama, and he has compiled a 20-18-6 record. Of his 10 teams, seven ended in European victories.
“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, assisting Thomas in his role as captain,” Westwood said. “Of course, my ideal scenario is that I hit a hot streak of form over the summer and force my way in to the team. But quite honestly, as long as I am able to contribute to the 2018 European team in some way, I am going to be happy.”
The matches are Sept. 28-30 in a Paris suburb. Europe has not lost on home soil since 1993.
U.S. captain Jim Furyk already has announced Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Davis Love III as his assistants, with two more still to be announced.
Bjorn’s group of assistants has combined for 26 Ryder Cups.
Harrington has played on six teams, the first one in 1999. A three-time major champion, the Irishman last played the Ryder Cup in 2010. He has been an assistant captain the last three times, serving alongside Bjorn at Hazeltine two years ago.
“We know each other really well, especially in the context of being part of the intense pressures of the backroom team in Ryder Cup week,” Harrington said.
Donald has played on four winning teams for Europe, most recently in 2012 when he beat Bubba Watson in the leadoff singles match at Medinah in Europe’s record-tying comeback.
McDowell also played on four teams, and he cemented his Ryder Cup legacy by making a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole at Celtic Manor and won the decisive point in the final match in 2010 at Wales.
McDowell is a two-time winner of the French Open at Le Golf National, site of the Ryder Cup.
“I know that I can contribute a huge amount to the team this year given my experience at the venue and appearances in past Ryder Cups,” McDowell said.