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Thomas Bjorn named European Ryder Cup captain

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Thomas Bjorn of Denmark tees off at the first hole during a practice session in Gleneagles, Scotland, on September 25, 2014 © AFP/File / Ben Stansall

London, United Kingdom, Dec 6 – Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn will captain the European team at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, Ryder Cup Europe announced on Tuesday.

Bjorn, 45, vice-captain for four previous Ryder Cups, succeeds Northern Irishman Darren Clarke.

“It’s a huge honour for me to be named European captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris,” Bjorn said in a statement on the Ryder Cup website.

“This is one of the greatest days in my career.” Bjorn, who is Denmark’s most successful golfer, has played in three Ryder Cups, finishing on the winning side in 1997, 2002 and 2014, and twice finished second in the British Open.

He was vice-captain of this year’s team who lost 17-11 to the United States at Hazeltine.

A 15-time European Tour winner, he had been the favourite for the non-playing post, after Ireland’s Padraig Harrington said he wanted to play at the event, and was chosen ahead of Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.

“I have lived and breathed the European Tour for so long and now I will do the same with the Ryder Cup for the next two years,” Bjorn added.

“I studied a lot of captains as a player and as a vice-captain and always wondered what that feeling would be like to be the one leading out a team of 12 great players.

“Now it’s my turn to do just that and it is an exciting moment for me.”

Bjorn will be only the fourth man from outside the British Isles to captain Europe after Spanish pair Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal and Germany’s Bernhard Langer.

He was chosen by a five-man panel of the three most recent captains Clarke, Paul McGinley and Olazabal plus European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and European Tour tournament committee member Henrik Stenson.

The USA’s one-sided success in Minnesota in October was their first Ryder Cup triumph since 2008.

The 2018 event will take place at the Paris National from September 28-30.

“Thomas is a well-respected man in our game and on the European Tour,” Masters champion Danny Willett, a member of Europe’s beaten 2016 team, told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“From what I saw from him as vice-captain, he will make a fantastic captain.”

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