A little over two months since Europe were trounced at Hazeltine Thomas Bjorn has been named as captain for the 2018 matches in Paris.
The Dane will be the fourth skipper from outside the British Isles to lead Europe and he does it after serving his time with four stints as vice-captain. The 45-year-old last played at Gleneagles in 2014, one of three appearances and all of them on winning teams. Bjorn got the nod over Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.
Bjorn was chosen as captain by a five-man selection panel comprising the three most recent – Clarke, Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazábal – as well as the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley, and committee member Henrik Stenson.
Wow. Truly honoured to be 2018 @RyderCupEurope captain. I cant wait for next 20+ months. Today is the greatness day of my career – so far ?
— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) December 6, 2016
The new captain said: “It’s a huge honour for me to be named European captain, this is one of the greatest days in my career. I studied a lot of captains as a player and as a vice-captain and always wondered what that feeling would be like to be the one leading out a team of 12 great players.
“Now it’s my turn to do just that and it is an exciting moment for me. I have lived and breathed the European Tour for so long, and now I will do the same with the Ryder Cup for the next two years.”
Bjorn has acted as chairman of the European Tour’s Tournament Committee since 2007, a role he will now relinquish.
The 15-time winner has played Le Golf National 14 times with a best finish of a share of third place in 2007.
— Paul Lawrie (@PaulLawriegolf) December 6, 2016
Pelley added: “Thomas has many wonderful characteristics which he will bring to the role of captain. Firstly, he is incredibly experienced. He also has commitment. We have seen that over the last nine years as Tournament Committee chairman, so we know as Ryder Cup captain he will have the same unwavering commitment.
“Thirdly, he has passion. Not only for this wonderful game, but for the European Tour and Team Europe and he wants the Ryder Cup to be the greatest sporting event it can be. So when you look at his these characteristics, I am convinced they will make him great Ryder Cup captain.”
The American skipper is not yet known though Jim Furyk looks a strong contender with Steve Stricker another option.