The timing of these things is always a bit odd. In more recent years a handful of superstars have been wheeled out en masse, this time around we had Robert Karlsson in situ after his handful heroics in Paris and now we have Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer as part of Padraig Harrington’s backroom staff.
McDowell was on hand in France and his handling of rookies, you would imagine, is exemplary. See Exhibit A: Victor Dubuisson in 2014.
Kaymer is still only 36 and, like McDowell, has played on four Ryder Cup teams. He’s holed the winning putt, played on three winning teams and one of his two major wins came at Whistling Straits, home to this year’s matches.
Last week at the US Open he shot 68-69 in the middle two rounds and in Germany this week he’s playing nicely again. So, despite all the merits of Kaymer, why the need to name the German now?
Even Kaymer was surprised when the idea was recently mooted…
“When Padraig approached me at the PGA Championship, I was a little surprised at that stage. Because you know, it's such a huge honour that I really didn't know how to take it. So then we took a little bit of time at the Champions Dinner. We spoke a little bit about it, only a few minutes and I went back to my room. I must admit, I struggled a little bit to sleep because once I decide to do something, I would like to do it properly and in the right way,” explained Kaymer.
All being well being named vice-captain will work as a motivation to make the plane with his clubs rather than his notebook.
“It all depends on your performance. I would never give up on the Ryder Cup. Since I played on the 2012 Ryder Cup and I have that gift that I received on the 18th green, my emotions and my attitude toward the Ryder Cup has changed even more. So that hope will never go away until the last day of qualification.”
For Harrington the possibility of having Kaymer in your team is a very welcome one.
“Martin is known for having a very cool head under pressure and it is a pressure situation, the Ryder Cup. So emotionally, he brings a nice level-headedness to what we're doing. I think also when it comes to the team, he adds a very nice balance, too. He's well-respected amongst the players and he brings that sort of coolness emotionally to the team itself, and you need that very much when it comes to everything in golf but especially the Ryder Cup.
"You need to have people who are comfortable and relaxed, are not carrying stress themselves that can rub off on the players. The way Martin carries himself will bring a nice atmosphere to the team.”