Jimenez of Spain named fourth vice captain to Olazabal for 2012 Ryder Cup

Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez
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Jose Maria Olazabal's late choice of Miguel Angel Jimenez as his final assistant perhaps indicated that Jimeenz was in the running for a wild card until this weekend.
PA Sport

Series: Ryder Cup

Published: Saturday, August 25, 2012 | 12:16 p.m.

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Miguel Angel Jimenez has been selected as Europe's fourth assistant captain for next month's Ryder Cup.

Jimenez, who served as vice-captain to Seve Ballesteros in 1997 at Valderrama, joins Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, all of whom were part of Colin Montgomerie's backroom team two years ago.

"Miguel's announcement means that I now have four world-class golfers as my vice-captains -- all with tremendous experience of playing in the Ryder Cup, which is absolutely invaluable," said Olazabal on Saturday at the Johnnie Walker Championship. "Thomas, Darren and Paul were there with me supporting Colin Montgomerie and Miguel, of course, made a huge contribution to that match, including winning his singles.

"You know he has a very simple and great philosophy -- he always sees the positive side and makes people feel better," Olazabal added. "He shares with Thomas, Darren and Paul that passion, commitment and desire to win, and like them I know he will encourage everyone in the team room.

"I now have four great friends behind me -- four guys I know, four guys I trust and four guys familiar with this contest, which is so important because the Ryder Cup is unique."

United States Captain Davis Love also has four assistants in Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman.

Jimenez had never played in the Ryder Cup when when Ballesteros called on him to help in the first-ever match on Spanish soil in 1997at Valderrama, but he is hoping Olazabal doesn’t act in the same way in one respect.

"I remember being woken at 3:00 a.m. by Seve for team talks, so I hope Jose Maria hasn't got the same thing in mind," the 48-year-old said with a smile. "Fifteen years after being alongside Seve, it's great to be vice-captain to Jose Maria.

"I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't say that I would have liked to have been playing again, ” he admitted. “There is nothing to compare with that in the Ryder Cup. But next to that, I couldn't be happier."

Jimenez won caps in 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2010, and the fact that Olazabal didn’t originally name him at the same time as Bjorn, Clarke and McGinley was perhaps an indication that he still had a chance of a wild card. But the 18-time European Tour winner missed the halfway cut at the Johnnie Walker, the final qualifying event, on Friday.

That is where Olazabal will name his two captain's picks on Monday.