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Harrington and McDowell named as European vice captains for Ryder Cup

Thomas Bjorn has completed his backroom team for September’s match in Paris.

EUROPE CAPTAIN THOMAS Bjorn has named Lee Westwood, Pádraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald as vice-captains for this year’s Ryder Cup.

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Westwood has played in the past 10 contests since making his debut in 1997 and was on the winning side seven times, while Harrington was vice-captain to Paul McGinley in 2014 and Darren Clarke in 2016.

McDowell, who claimed the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010, and Donald will make their debuts in the backroom staff at Le Golf National in Paris as Europe seek to regain the trophy following defeat at Hazeltine two years ago.

The quartet could still qualify for the biennial contest, which takes place from 28-30 September, but Westwood (117th) is the only player currently ranked inside the world’s top 200.

Westwood and Harrington have also expressed an interest in the captaincy and could be rivals to succeed Bjorn and lead Europe in the 2020 contest at Whistling Straits.

Bjorn had already selected Sweden’s Robert Karlsson as a vice-captain, while opposite number Jim Furyk has named Davis Love, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as assistants, although Woods has stated his intention to play on the team as well.

Harrington said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be part of Thomas’ team of vice captains. I always want to be a part of the European Ryder Cup team in any capacity and hope I can provide a positive contribution.

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“It will be my third time serving Europe as a vice captain, with the last time being alongside Thomas at Hazeltine. 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.

“We are all united in the mission of reclaiming The Ryder Cup in Paris and I know Thomas has a very strong strategy in place that will give us absolutely the best possible chance to do this.”

The qualification campaign for the 2018 European Team concludes at the Made in Denmark tournament at Bjorn’s home Silkeborg club on 2 September.

© AFP 2018 

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