EUROPEAN captain Padraig Harrington has named Robert Karlsson as his first vice-captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup against the United States at Whistling Straits, in Wisconsin, next September.
The 50-year-old Swede twice represented Europe in the Ryder Cup – including partnering Harrington twice in foursomes at Valhalla, in 2008 – and he will return to the backroom team in the biennial contest having been one of Thomas Bjorn’s vice-captains at Le Golf National, in 2018.
Karlsson was also a member of the record-equalling team in 2006 at The K Club, where Europe recorded a nine-point victory, before making his second appearance in 2008, when he faced Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim alongside Harrington in the alternate-shot format.
Karlsson then defeated Justin Leonard 5&3 in the Sunday singles as Europe were defeated at Valhalla.
But he ended that year on a high by winning the Harry Vardon Trophy as the European Tour’s No, 1, becoming the first Swede to achieve that honour.
With 623 European Tour appearances and 11 titles to his name in a career spanning 30 years, Karlsson brings considerable experience to the backroom team for next year’s contest.
Harrington, who made the announcement ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Ryder Cup Europe’s headquarters at the Wentworth Club, said: “Robert was an obvious choice for my first vice-captain having seen his notable contribution to the backroom team last year in Paris – particularly with his attention to detail and his analytical approach.
“I have known Robert for many years and I know he will bring a wealth of experience to the team,” said the Irishman who won three Majors in 2007 and 2008.
“As a former Ryder Cup player and European Tour No. 1, he commands the respect of his peers, and I know I can count on him both in the build-up to Whistling Straits – and during the week itself.”
Karlsson said: “It is an honour to be asked to be a vice-captain by Padraig, someone I have known and respected in the game for many years.
“I’m really looking forward to playing my part for Team Europe once again over the next 12 months.
“To be involved in what transpired at Le Golf National was a dream come true. And I believe the experience and continuity I can bring to the team this time around, can be a big help as we aim to retain the trophy on American soil.”
The qualification campaign for the 2020 Ryder Cup begins this week and will conclude in a year’s time back at Wentworth at the 2020 BMW PGA Championship.
The 2020 Ryder Cup will be played at Whistling Straits Golf Club, in Wisconsin, from September 25-27, 2020.
The Pete and Alice Dye-designed course sits along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan. It has been a host venue of three US PGA Championships – most recently in 2015 when Australian Jason Day claimed his first Major.
Europe will travel to Wisconsin as holders of the Ryder Cup following their 17½-10½ victory over the United States at Le Golf National last September. It was Europe’s ninth victory in the last 12 contests.