Ryder Cup: Euro legends brought in for showdown at Whistling Straits

Padraig Harrington names Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell as Vice Captains for September’s duel as Koepka v DeChambeau spat continues.

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Europe to win the Ryder Cup

Here's this week's Ryder Cup news with updates from both camps.

In Europe, Padraig Harrington has strengthened his hand by taking his tally of Vice Captains to four with the addition of Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell. They join Luke Donald and Robert Karlsson.

The duo are both wrapped up in Ryder Cup history. Kaymer holed the putt that sealed the incredible "Miracle of Medinah" comeback in 2012 while G-Mac secured the winning point at Celtic Manor in 2010.

The inclusion of this highly-popular duo looks a smart move as Europe try and upset the odds again by showing that harmony can make a team become greater than the sum of their parts.

Meanwhile, over in Team America, Brooks Koepka is trying to make us believe he's "growing the game" by continuing his spat with Bryson DeChambeau.

Hmmm.

While many are writing off Koepka v DeChambeau as childish nonsense, others have said it's already having an impact.

The theory is this: Koepka has been incredible at closing out Majors in the last few years but he's come up short when putting himself in similar positions in the last two. As much as he'll deny it, has some of his focus been diminished by the DeChambeau oneupmanship?

And while Bryson smiles his way through it, has it had an adverse affect on him too? His final-round back-nine meltdown at Torrey Pines came from nowhere. Was it just a few bad swings or was he trying too hard to match Koepka's feat of defending a US Open?

No-one knows the answer but even tiny percentages can make a difference. And there's certainly a strong feeling with many that their public spat - real or imagined - is an ugly look.

Koepka is already claiming that fellow golfers have told him that they're "glad" he did what he did on the viral video.

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But even if some see it as an entertaining sideshow, it's hard to believe that US skipper Steve Stricker is one of them.

The Ryder Cup is just over three months away and this shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the US dressing room this September.

Meanwhile, back on Team Europe, here's how Harrington's vice skippers were announced.

PR press releases, by design, are there to paint a positive image. But with the Europeans, you believe every word of it.

In the battle to create unity, Europe are very obviously 1up.

Harrington on Kaymer and McDowell

"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. 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 is somebody I wanted as a Vice Captain because he has a great personality and brings a calmness, a European element, and a lot of confidence with him. The fact that he won around Whistling Straits (2010 PGA Championship) also brings that level of authority and assurance that you need.

"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. The only reason he would not have been a Vice Captain was if he was going to be a player.

"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 on getting the call

"When Pádraig approached me, I felt very honoured immediately. 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. I would have liked to be part of this year's Ryder Cup team for sure, in whatever position. 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.

"I admit it took me a while to say yes, because it's a responsibility and if I do something I want to do it properly, so we talked about the role. I'm not the type of guy who is into numbers and statistics. I'm more the person talking to the guys, more of the personal stuff, a bit more of the mental side. I feel like I'm a fairly calm person when I'm playing golf and through my experience I know what they all go through, whether that's the guys that might be playing the Ryder Cup for the first time or guys that I have played Ryder Cups with before, so I think I understand the feelings quite well."

McDowell on being named a Vice Captain

"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. It's a lot of fun, it's a different perspective on the Ryder Cup, but I certainly really enjoyed it. I knew Pádraig wanted me as part of the staff and it's a huge honour. Pádraig is one of my heroes and such an iconic figure in Irish golf. To have him captaining a Ryder Cup team is fantastic for Europe.

"One of our big roles is to help Pádraig 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."

The 43rd Ryder Cup will be played at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin from September 24-26, where Europe will aim to retain the trophy they won at Le Golf National in 2018.

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