For McDowell, missing the 2016 Ryder Cup for the first time in a decade was simply “too hard to take” and he wants to be there helping out in any way he can.
Completing the vice-captaincy line-up alongside previously announced Robert Karlsson are two veterans who everyone expected to get the nod: Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington. “We know the U.S. team are very strong and they hold the major championships but winning a major individually is very different from playing in Ryder Cup”, said the former world No 1. Myself and Thomas have known each other many years and anything I can do to have a bit of input and help, I will gladly do’.
Harrington is the only vice-captain with previous experience of the role, but Donald has never tasted defeat in four appearances as a player and McDowell secured the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010, as well as winning the French Open twice at this year’s venue.
“I am delighted to have been asked to be part of Thomas’ team of Vice Captains”, he said.
The quartet could still qualify for the biennial contest, which takes place from Sept 28-30, but Westwood (117th) is the only player now ranked inside the world’s top 200. “We’ll deal with that problem when we get to it”. “You know, just excited to take on a slightly different view of things, and obviously help the 12 players be as ready as they possibly can to regain this trophy that we all care so much about”.
2018 Ryder Cup: Thomas Bjorn opts for experienced vice-captains
Bjorn’s assistants have played in a combined 26 Ryder Cups with Harrington playing six times and being vice-captain on three occasions.
McDowell is a two-time victor of the French Open at Le Golf Nationalsite of the Ryder Cup.
He said: “My four Ryder Cup appearances have been the greatest experiences so far of my career”. “We know they are going to field a very strong team and be very confident but I think we’ve proved ourselves over the last 20 years or so that we can compete at that team level in a Ryder Cup”.
“I’ve not been involved in a Ryder Cup where the captain hasn’t been thoughtful about what he was going to do and they haven’t had a strong team and haven’t had a strong backroom team – they’ve always had that”. This week’s BMW PGA Championship marks the next phase in the qualification process with points earned at European Tour events from Wentworth until Made in Denmark multiplied by 1.5 on both the World Points List and the European Point List.
Europe is seeking to regain the Cup after losing to the United States at Hazeltine two years ago.