Woods named as a vice-captain for 2016 Ryder Cup

Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:08pm EST
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(Reuters) - United States captain Davis Love III, looking for passion and experience, has appointed 14-times major winner Tiger Woods as one of five vice-captains for next year's Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota.

Woods, 39, is a veteran of seven Ryder Cups as a player, most recently in 2012 under Love's captaincy, and is battling to recover from a nagging back injury that led him to undergo two surgeries over the past two months.

Love also announced on Wednesday that Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk would be vice-captains, joining Tom Lehman who was introduced in February as the first of five assistants under a new management system unveiled by the PGA of America to help revive U.S. fortunes.

The Americans will be bidding to end a dismal stretch of eight defeats by Europe in the last 10 editions of the biennial team competition when the 2016 Ryder Cup is held from Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and hope to benefit from several changes made following the recommendations of a task force that was assembled.

"These three guys, joining Tom Lehman, will send a message to our team that we are really serious about this Ryder Cup," Love said during a news conference on the eve of this week's RSM Classic, the PGA Tour event which he hosts at Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

"We are ahead of the game this time and it lets potential team members know that we are going to do whatever it takes to put them in the best position to win in 2016."

Furyk, 45, has played in nine consecutive Ryder Cups while Stricker, 48, who has represented his country three times in the team competition, will repeat the role he served as an assistant to then-captain Tom Watson at Gleneagles in Scotland last year.

"Two things that excite me about these vice-captains is ... to a man, they said, 'We will do anything you ask us to do to make this Ryder Cup successful'," said Love.

"And second, these four guys bring over 50 years of combined Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup experience to the table, so I have surrounded myself with passionate people who have a tremendous amount of matchplay experience.   Continued...

U.S. golfer Tiger Woods smiles during a golf clinic in Mexico City October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido