Oz in Spain

Looking on the Bright Side…

(Photo: Getty Images)

One of Miguel Ángel Jiménez’s most celebrated contributions to past European Ryder Cup challenges has been his liberal supply of Spanish wine. This year, there will no doubt be another crate or two in the cargo hold as the team heads across the Atlantic to Chicago but once on American soil the Spanish star will be providing another key weapon to the defending Europeans’ arsenal.

Announcing his appointment of Jiménez as a fourth vice captain for the matches at Medinah Country Club in Illinois from 28 to 30 September, captain José María Olazábal noted, “Miguel was Seve’s right-hand man in 1997 and you know he has a very simple and great philosophy – he always sees the positive side and makes people feel better.

(Photo: Getty Images)

“He shares with (fellow vice captains) Thomas (Björn), Darren (Clarke) and Paul (McGinley) that passion, commitment and desire to win and, like them, I know he will encourage everyone in the team room. I now have four great friends behind me – four guys I know, four guys I trust and four guys familiar with this contest, which is so important because the Ryder Cup is unique.”

“Jiménez was vice captain to Seve Ballesteros when Europe won at Valderrama in 1997 and he made his playing debut in 1999. He also played in 2004, 2008 and 2010 and on two occasions finished on the winning side, including two years ago in Wales when he twice beat 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson – first in the fourballs with Peter Hanson and then 4&3 in the singles. He has won four and halved three of his Cup 15 matches.

An 18-time winner on the European Tour, 48-year-old Jiménez said of his appointment, “Fifteen years after being alongside Seve, it’s great to be vice captain to José María. I remember being woken at 3am by Seve for team talks so I hope José María hasn’t got the same thing in mind! Seriously, I would not be telling the truth if I didn’t say that I would have liked to have been playing again – there is nothing to compare with that in the Ryder Cup – but next to that I could not be happier than to be a vice captain alongside Darren, Thomas and Paul.”

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