Jimenez named among Ryder Cup vice-captains

Jimenez named among Ryder Cup vice-captains

Miguel Angel Jimenez is to become Europe’s fourth assistant captain at next month’s Ryder Cup.

Jimenez, who served as vice-captain to Seve Ballesteros in 1997, was named by Jose Maria Olazabal today and joins Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, all of whom were part of Colin Montgomerie’s backroom team two years ago.

Olazabal said: “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.

``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,'' Olazabal added.

“You know he has a very simple and great philosophy – he always sees the positive side and makes people feel better.

“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 - currently their Presidents Cup captain – Mike Hulbert, Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman.

Jimenez was uncapped when Ballesteros called on him to help in the first-ever match on Spanish soil at Valderrama, but he is hoping Olazabal does not act in the same way in one respect.

“I remember being woken at 3am by Seve for team talks, so I hope Jose Maria hasn’t got the same thing in mind,” the 48-year-old said.

“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 – 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 and the last two matches and the fact that Olazabal did not 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 last night missed the halfway cut at the final qualifying event, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

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

One is expected to go to Ian Poulter, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts could still knock Martin Kaymer out of an automatic spot – he needs a top-two finish tomorrow – and that is where the focus now is.

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