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Bjorn, Clarke, McGinley Named European Ryder Cup Assistants

Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley were named vice captains for the European team for golf’s Ryder Cup.

The three were announced today by European captain Colin Montgomerie. The Ryder Cup will be played Oct. 1 to 3 at Celtic Manor in Wales. The U.S. won the last competition in 2008.

“Any winning team has fantastic support behind the scenes,” Montgomerie said at a televised press conference. “These are three people who are committed to the regaining of the Ryder Cup.”

Bjorn, 38, won both of his Ryder Cup appearances as a player and added a third victory as assistant to Bernhard Langer in 2004. He became the first Ryder Cup player from Denmark in 1997.

Clarke, 41, played in the Ryder Cup five times, winning four. He was the inspirational leader of the 2006 team in Ireland, winning all three of his matches months after the death of his wife Heather.

The Northern Irishman still has an outside chance to make the European team, ranking 21st in the current standings.

“We spoke at length about it and Monty said he wants me there one way or another,” Clarke said. “Right now as it stands I’m outside the team and am delighted to be part of his back-room staff.”

Ireland’s McGinley, 41, has been on the winning team in all three of his Ryder Cup appearances, including sinking the deciding putt in 2002.

The nine automatic qualifiers for the European team will be determined after the Johnnie Walker Championship on Aug. 29. Montgomerie will also name his three captain’s picks that day.

The eight automatic U.S. team qualifiers will be determined at the conclusion of the PGA Championship on Aug. 15. Captain Corey Pavin announced his four selections on Sept. 7.

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