Ryder Cup 2016: Bubba Watson named as fifth United States vice-captain

Ryder Cup
Bubba Watson played under Davis Love's captaincy at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah
Ryder Cup 2016
Venue: Hazeltine National, Minnesota Dates: 30 September-2 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC Two plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Details.

United States skipper Davis Love says Bubba Watson will add "a lot of fun" and "great heart" after naming the two-time Masters winner as a vice-captain for this weekend's Ryder Cup.

Watson lost out to Ryan Moore for the final wildcard spot but will still play a key role for the US in Hazeltine.

"We're thrilled to have him," said Love, who is trying to stop Europe from claiming a fourth consecutive win.

Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman and Steve Stricker are also assistants.

Ryder Cup
Watson reacted on Twitter to the news of his appointment

Love, who was also captain in 2012 when Europe won after a record comeback, said Watson, 37, completed an "interesting group" of vice-captains.

"We have a mix of guys who think differently," he said. "You couldn't put five guys together of differing personalities who get along so well."

Watson, who has played in the past three Ryder Cups, reiterated to Love he wanted to be part of his backroom team, despite losing out to Moore.

"When I told the team members and assistant captains, we were in disbelief," said Love. "What Bubba did really shows how together the US team really is."

United States team

NameAgeAppearancesWonLostDraw
Rickie Fowler*27Two044
JB Holmes*34One201
Dustin Johnson32Two430
Zach Johnson40Four662
Brooks Koepka26Debut---
Matt Kuchar*38Three452
Phil Mickelson46Ten16197
Patrick Reed26One310
Brandt Snedeker35One120
Jordan Spieth23One211
Jimmy Walker37One113
Ryan Moore*33Debut---
* denotes wildcard selections

Analysis

BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter:

"One of the key elements as far as Davis Love was concerned in terms of selecting his wildcards was team chemistry.

"Bubba Watson is ranked seventh in the world, so if you were going to pick him because he is a top-10 player in the world, it makes total sense.

"If you're going to drop someone who is a top-10 player, then it is clearly down to a lack of chemistry. But here he is in the backroom staff. It's fascinating."

Teams unite for Palmer tributes

Ryder Cup
The flags at Hazeltine flew at half-mast on Monday

Players, officials and fans will pay their respects to golfing great Arnold Palmer, who died on Sunday aged 87, when the 41st Ryder Cup starts on Friday.

Flags at Hazeltine were lowered to half-mast on Monday in tribute to the seven-time major winner, who was nicknamed 'The King'.

Players from both teams will wear pins bearing a special logo, while tournament officials are finalising details of a video tribute and minute's silence to be held during the opening ceremony.

Love said he had spoken to Europe captain Darren Clarke about honouring American legend Palmer.

"Whatever we do, we are going to do together," said Love. "He was my inspiration as a golfer, a role model as how to act as a professional."

Clarke added: "Our sport wouldn't be where it is without Mr Palmer. He was a global superstar and inspired people all over the world to take up our sport."

Previous success irrelevant - Clarke

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Europe fired up for Ryder Cup defence - Clarke

Europe are aiming to continue their recent dominance of the biennial event by winning a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup for the first time.

But Northern Irishman Clarke, who arrived in Minnesota with his team on Monday, said past glories count for nothing against a US side that Love claims is the "best ever assembled".

Europe have won 10 and drawn one of the past 15 events.

"I think it's irrelevant going into this week," said Northern Irishman Clarke. "Each Ryder Cup is individual in its own right."

Ryder Cup
The Europe team arrived at Hazeltine on Monday, with US captain Davis Love there to greet Darren Clarke - and the Ryder Cup trophy
Ryder Cup
US players Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler assessed the Hazeltine course during a practice round in blustery conditions on Monday
Ryder Cup
The greens staff continued their preparations at Hazeltine, which is hosting its first Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup
Even Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps was getting into the swing of the Ryder Cup, turning up at Hazeltine with his family on Monday

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