Graeme McDowell’s pride in ‘great honour’ of Ryder Cup vice-captain role

European captain Padraig Harrington has appointed Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell as vice-captains for September’s Ryder Cup.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 11:03 am

Kaymer and McDowell join Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson in Harrington’s backroom staff for the contest against the United States at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

McDowell was also a vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn for Europe’s victory at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018, while Kaymer will take on the role for the first time after four appearances as a player.

Harrington said: “I’m delighted to welcome Martin and Graeme as vice-captains, both of whom I believe will bring experience, knowledge, and a great balance to the team room.

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Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell. Pic by PA.

“They have both contributed winning points in Ryder Cup history, have been there and done it, and the other players look up to them. They both have that aura and responsibility in that what they say will have meaning.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Kaymer secured the point which completed the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012 and also won the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010.

“When Padraig approached me I felt very honoured immediately,” the 36-year-old said. “It means a lot to us Europeans, especially for me as a German making the winning putt in 2012. The Ryder Cup means a lot.

“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.”

McDowell, who claimed the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010, added: “Being vice captain of the European team at the Ryder Cup is a great honour.

“If you can’t play on the team, being part of the support network and the vice captaincy is the next best thing, and I was very proud to do it in 2018.

“One of our big roles is to help Padraig delegate responsibility. He’s a very intelligent guy, he’s got a lot of information in that head.

“From a vice-captain’s point of view, helping get that out of his head and communicate it to the players, to me, is one of the roles that is extremely important to us.

“In 2018, some of the biggest things I learned were how to handle players, how to communicate with players, which players require a lot of communication, and which players you just wind them up and let them go.”

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