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Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell will be part of the backroom team at this September’s Ryder Cup after European captain Padraig Harrington added the duo as vice captains.
Two-time major winner Kaymer will take on the vice captaincy role for the first time after four appearances as a player (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016), during which time he won an individual total of 6.5 points. Kaymer, it should be noted, also played a part behind the scenes at the disastrous 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla, after Nick Faldo invited him to be his ‘eyes and ears’ in the team room.
The German has been on the winning side three times, and famously holing the putt at the Miracle of Medinah in 2012. He also won the PGA Championship in 2010 at Whistling Straits, site of this year’s Ryder Cup on September 24-26.
McDowell returns for a second time as vice captain, having joined Harrington as part of the backroom team that helped Thomas Bjørn beat the USA two years ago in Paris at Le Golf National. The Northern Irish major winner has also appeared in the biennial contest on four occasions (2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014), with nine points from 15 matches, most notably including the winning point at the Celtic Manor Resort in 2010.
“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,” said Harrington. “The fact that he won around Whistling Straits also brings that level of authority and assurance that you need.
“Martin will also bring a nice emotion to the team, which is very important. He’s somebody who will help with the atmosphere, put an arm around a player or two and bring that level of authority and belief that we may need during the week.”
He added: “I decided on Graeme as a vice captain a long time ago. He was vice captain in 2018 with me and I liked what he brought to the team room. He’s quite an authority, confident in what he’s doing and saying and knows the scene. The only reason he would not have been a vice captain was if he was going to be a player.
“Graeme is a strong influence and the players look up to him. When he speaks, people listen, but he doesn’t speak unless he’s got something to say. I definitely saw that when he was vice captain previously – players pay attention and follow him.”
Kaymber said he was honoured to take the role but admitted he had to think it through before accepting.
“Obviously before Padraig approached me I was trying to make the team as a player and I still do want to do that, but you feel honoured and it tells you a lot about what the captain and the whole team behind him think about you and how they value you. It was a really nice moment,” said the German.
“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. 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.”
McDowell said that, if he couldn’t make the team, the “next best thing” is the vice captaincy.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s a different perspective on the Ryder Cup, but I certainly really enjoyed it,” said McDowell. “I knew Pádraig wanted me as part of the staff and it’s a huge honour. Pádraig 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.”
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