Olazabal names Clarke, McGinley and Bjorn as Ryder Cup vice captains

Colin Montgomerie, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley
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Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley all served as assistants to 2010 Captain Colin Montgomerie in Wales.
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Series: Ryder Cup

Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012 | 1:01 p.m.

VIRGINIA WATER, England -- European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal announced three of his four vice captains on Thursday, picking Irishmen Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark for the match against the United States.

The 46-year-old Olazabal, who played in seven Ryder Cup matches, was a vice captain alongside his three picks for the 2010 event at Celtic Manor, which Europe won 14-13.

"I could not be more delighted than to have Thomas, Darren and Paul as vice captains," Olazabal said. "All three are world-class golfers with tremendous experience of playing in The Ryder Cup."

Clarke played a key part in Europe's victory in 2006, inspiring the team by taking all three points available to him despite losing his wife to cancer a month earlier.

"We'll be seeking to use our experience to re-create that terrific team spirit and bonding that has made the European team room such a special place to be for so many years," said Clarke, the 2011 British Open winner who has made five Ryder Cup appearances. "Make no mistake, this is a very strong backroom team because we have been there before and done it before."

The Ryder Cup will be held at the Medinah Country Club in Chicago from Sept. 28-30.

McGinley, enjoying a resurgence this year with three top-10 finishes on the European Tour, echoed his compatriot's sentiments.

"The Americans always look to start fast, especially on home soil, as they did at Valhalla in 2008, and we will need to be ready for that," McGinley said.

Bjorn became the first Dane to compete in the Ryder Cup in 1997 and said he was happy to continue his role as vice-captain.

"I said in 2010 that if you can't play well enough to be on the team then I am very happy to do this role," Bjorn said. "We know that an experienced backroom team can make a big difference, and together we will be looking to support the captain in making good decisions and making the team feel comfortable with what they are doing."

The trio of assistants has played in 10 Ryder Cups among them, with nine wins to their credit.

"For me to have these guys -- all such great friends -- by my side is fantastic," Olazabal added. "I know like me they will now be counting down the days to to Medinah with one aim -- to return home with the Cup," Olazabal added.

He is expected to add a fourth assistant before the Ryder Cup, but gave no indication as to who that mght be on Thursday.