Watson names Stricker as a vice-captain for Ryder Cup

Wed Aug 6, 2014 2:35pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOUISVILLE Kentucky (Reuters) - United States captain Tom Watson has appointed PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker as a vice-captain for this year's Ryder Cup against holders Europe at Gleneagles in Scotland.

Stricker, 47, will join Andy North and Raymond Floyd as an assistant, though Watson pointed out that he could qualify for the team as a player if he wins this week's PGA Championship at Valhalla.

With just this week's event remaining before the top nine on the U.S. Cup standings earn automatic selection for Gleneagles, Stricker languishes in 38th spot after playing the PGA Tour on a part-time basis over the last two years.

"Steve has been on the Ryder Cup team three times, he's been on five Presidents Cup teams," Watson told reporters at Valhalla on Wednesday on the eve of the PGA Championship.

"Steve, when I called you, it was a pretty simple response from you: 'I'd love to be the vice-captain'. I appreciate that very quick and simple response that you made.

"What Steve brings here is a great familiarity with the players who are on the Tour right now. He brings a great deal of understanding of who these players are and their capabilities."

Stricker, a 12-times winner on the PGA Tour who has represented his country at the last three Ryder Cups, described his appointment as "pretty special" and "a sign of the times".

"I feel old," the American smiled. "It's a sign of the times, I guess, that you're moving on in your career.   Continued...

U.S. golfer Steve Stricker hits a shot onto the second green during the first round of the 2014 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 10, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder