Donald adds Spanish star to Ryder Cup team after Rahm calls on Garcia inclusion

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Donald adds Spanish star to Ryder Cup team after Rahm calls on Garcia inclusion
Donald adds Spanish star to Ryder Cup team after Rahm calls on Garcia inclusion

Team Europe skipper Luke Donald has confirmed his fourth vice-captain for this year's Ryder Cup in Rome, after appointing Spanish stalwart José María Olazábal to his team ahead of their clash with the United States.

Donald has named Olazábal as his fourth vice-captain ahead of next month's event, alongside Thomas Bjorn, Edoardo Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts. The Spaniard brings plenty of experience to the European camp, after captaining his continent to their famous 'Miracle at Medinah' victory in 2012.

2023 skipper Donald played under Olazabal 11 years ago, and was trusted in leading the Europeans out in game one of the Sunday singles matches at Medinah.

Alluding to this when announcing the Spaniard as part of his team, Donald said: "When you think of José María Olázabal, you immediately think of the Ryder Cup. He brings amazing passion and I couldn't be more excited to have him on board.

“He was my Captain when I last played in the Ryder Cup – at Medinah in 2012 – and I thoroughly enjoyed playing for him that year. He picked me to play number one in the singles and that was hugely gratifying. To know he had that respect and confidence in me to go out and lead Europe in such a pressurised last day environment meant a lot and this feels, perhaps, that I am returning that favour a little bit, as I have a huge amount of confidence in him."

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Pledging his support behind the captain, Olazabal added: "It was a very nice surprise to be asked by Luke. I didn’t expect it but I was delighted when the call came. My role will be the same as the rest of the Vice Captains, namely to support and help Luke and the 12 players in any way we can, so they can perform at their best and be able to win that trophy back.

Donald adds Spanish star to Ryder Cup team after Rahm calls on Garcia inclusionJose Maria Olazabal captained Luke Donald in 2012

“I have no doubts that Luke will be a great Captain. He has played in the Ryder Cup four times and won four times and he therefore knows what is required to perform well in the match." Olazabal will be joined by fellow countryman Jon Rahm ahead of his imminent qualification in the coming weeks.

The world No. 3 is set to play a big role for the European team, but believes he should be alongside a third Spaniard - and his 2021 partner - in Sergio Garcia. Having been a stalwart of Team Europe, Garcia is set to miss out on a spot this year, after joining LIV Golf.

Rahm though believes the only man who deserves a place in the European's 12-man team from the LIV setup is 2017 Masters champion Garcia. Speaking on the Golf Sin Etiquetas podcast - and translated by Handicap 54 - he said: "With all the respect for European players, the only one from LIV Golf that I would choose for the Ryder Cup team would be Sergio Garcia, even if he was missing a leg."

Joshua Lees

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