Olazabal names Jimenez a Ryder Cup vice captain


It's always a good idea to have a reliable mechanic around. In this case, that's just a figurative term, but European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal has named 'The Mechanic,' Miguel Angel Jiménez, as his fourth vice captain for next month's matches.

According to the European Tour website, the 48-year-old Spaniard will join Thomas Björn, Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley as aides to Olazabal. The four have plenty of RC experience; among them, they have played in 14 Ryder Cups.

The matches will be played at Medinah, Ill., Country Club near Chicago on Sept. 28-30. U.S. captain Davis Love III already has named Fred CouplesMike Hulbert, Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman as his assistants.

“Miguel’s announcement means that I now have four world-class golfers as my vice captains – all with tremendous experience of playing in the Ryder Cup which is absolutely invaluable,' Olazabal said in a statement.

“Thomas, Darren and Paul were there with me supporting Colin Montgomerie in 2010 when we regained the cup and Miguel, of course, made a huge contribution to that match including winning his singles.

“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.

“He shares with Thomas, Darren and Paul 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, known for his long, bushy hair, ever-present cigar and elaborate stretching routine, was Seve Ballesteros' vice captain when Europe won at Valderrama in 1997. He made his RC playing debut in 1999 and also played in 2004, ’08 and ’10.

“Fifteen years after being alongside Seve, it’s great to be vice captain to José María,' Jimenez said in a statement. 'I remember being woken at 3 a.m. 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.”