Tom Watson and Steve Stricker

Tom Watson and Steve Stricker

Stricker named third vice captain

US Ryder Cup Team Captain Tom Watson announced on Wednesday at the US PGA Championship that Steve Stricker had accepted an offer to become one of three vice captains at The 2014 Ryder Cup.

He will join Andy North and Raymond Floyd as members of Watson’s back room staff for the matches to be played from September 26-28, which effectively takes the Wisconsin native out of contention for a place on the team proper.

Stricker has been a member of the past three US Ryder Cup teams, including a victorious turn at the 2008 matches at Valhalla, while he has also represented his country in five Presidents Cups.

When asked by Watson if he wanted the position, Stricker’s answer was emphatic, and the US Captain was quick to sing the praises of this latest addition to his team.

“What Steve brings here is a great familiarity with the players who are on the Tour right now,” said the 64 year old American. “He's played against them, played with them, has played with them on The Ryder Cup Team and The Presidents Cup teams, so he brings a great deal of understanding of who these players are and their capabilities. That's the bottom line.”

As for Stricker, who has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, he spoke of his excitement to work with a man he affectionately referred to as Mr Scotland as well as stating what a great captain he thought Watson would make.

The 1998 US PGA Championship runner up also pointed out that there was still plenty to play for this week as his compatriots jostle for place in the top nine on the points list, a feat that would yield an automatic spot on the team.

“He's been on four teams, and I think it was a great choice, I really do,” said the 47 year old. “I think players will rally behind Tom, and I'm looking forward just to be a part of it. It was an honour for him to call me, just because I was on that team last time, and I think for those guys it still stings. I know it still stings me.”

“Just to be there and try to have that opportunity to get the Cup back, and to play for Tom, for all the guys, is a dream come true.

“The team hasn't been set yet, but the guys just outside the points I know are excited to play and are trying to earn points this week. There are so many good players, and whoever is on the team is surely going to have played their way on there.”

Watson’s first nine players will be decided at the close of play on Sunday, with both himself and European Captain Paul McGinley also naming their three Captain’s Picks on Monday September 2, at which point the teams will be finalised.