VIRGINIA WATER, England -- European captain Darren Clarke has named three of his assistants for the Ryder Cup in September.
Speaking after a second-round 77 at the BMW PGA Championship that will see him comfortably miss the cut at Wentworth, Clarke revealed his vice-captains to help Europe defend their title at Hazeltine will be Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Paul Lawrie.
Clarke, who played in five consecutive Ryder Cups from 1997 and was one of Colin Montgomerie's assistants in 2010, has chosen three vice-captains with genuine pedigree in the competition.
Three-time major champion Harrington played in six straight Ryder Cups from 1999, while Bjorn played in 1997, 2002 and 2014 -- all of which were won by Europe. Lawrie, meanwhile, made his debut in the 1999 defeat to the U.S. and had to wait until 2012 to get his revenge. The Scot is the only one of the three making his debut in the backroom staff at Hazeltine as Europe seek an unprecedented fourth straight victory and ninth in 11.
"Padraig, Thomas and Paul needed no persuading," Clarke told reporters at Wentworth. "The three bring a wealth of experience and knowledge and their input will be invaluable to Europe's cause. I could not have asked for anybody better to be standing shoulder to shoulder with me in the bid to bring the Ryder Cup home.
"I have known and been close to Thomas for many years and I know just how passionate he is about team golf's greatest competition. He has had a major influence already both on and off the course at previous Ryder Cups and I know that will continue at Hazeltine.
"Padraig's outstanding career has included three major championship successes and his presence in the team room will bring a big confidence factor to Europe's 12 representatives.
"Paul is a highly respected major championship winner and knows exactly what it will take to reach our intended destination. His calm, considered approach and strength of character will be of immense value."
Clarke hopes to name his remaining two vice-captains around the time of the Open Championship at Royal Troon in July. He said he had "one of two in mind", but hasn't approached them as they are still in with a chance of making the team.
He will also be asking the likes of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson as motivational speakers.