LONDON (Reuters) - Ian Poulter has been named as one of Europe’s vice captains for this year’s Ryder Cup after the Englishman wrote off his chances of making the team as a player.
The 40-year-old, expected to be out for four months because of arthritic problems in his right foot, is one of four vice captains chosen by captain Darren Clarke for the event at Hazeltine National in September.
“Everyone who knows me knows how much The Ryder Cup means, having given me memories to savor over the past 12 years and created friendships that will last a lifetime,” Poulter, who has played in the last five matches, said on the Ryder Cup website (www.rydercup.com) on Monday.
“Therefore when it became clear, given my current foot condition, that I would not be in a position to try and qualify for the team for a sixth time this year or indeed be able to justify a wild card pick, I was truly honored and delighted to be asked by Darren to be a vice captain.”
While the inspirational Poulter will be missed on the team, his motivational qualities will be a huge boost to Europe as they try to win the trophy for the fourth time in a row.
Poulter has won 14 Ryder Cup points from a possible 18 in his career and was the catalyst for an incredible comeback in Medinah in 2012 when he made five birdies in a row to close out his Saturday fourball with Rory McIlroy.
Europe went on to win having trailed 10-4.
“The best moments of my career have come when I have been wearing the blue and gold crest of Europe on my chest, knowing at the same time that the contest means so much to every European player and to every European fan, either in the crowd or watching back home on television,” Poulter said.
Clarke had already named Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie as vice captains and Poulter adds more experience to his support team.
“Ian’s Ryder Cup record speaks for itself and stands comparison with anyone in the history of this great contest,” Clarke said. “It goes without saying what a vital presence he will be in our team room come September.”
Clarke will name a fifth vice captain later this year.
Reporting by Martyn Herman