STOCKHOLM Robert Karlsson has been appointed vice-captain of the European Ryder Cup team on the eve of the Nordea Masters tournament, which takes place this week at Barseback Golf and Country Club in his native Sweden.
The 47-year-old, who made his Ryder Cup debut as a player in the victorious 2006 team and who took part again in 2008, was revealed as captain Thomas Bjorn's first appointment on the Ryder Cup website (www.rydercup.com).
"To get the call from Thomas was very special and I'm looking forward to being part of the Ryder Cup team again," Karlsson was quoted as saying. "It's a great honour to be vice-captain and I'm very much looking forward to the next 16 months.
"I've played in two Ryder Cups so I have experience of what the players will face and also have a lot of experience from the European tour," he added.
Known for his analytical approach to the game, Karlsson has 11 victories from more than 560 tournaments on the European tour and has finished in the top ten in all four of golf's major tournaments.
Describing Karlsson as one of his closest friends, Bjorn said the Swede was well-respected by the veterans and the younger players on the European tour.
"Robert will be a vital foil for me over the next 16 months in all aspects of our preparation, including statistical analysis on players, and I know he will give me his honest opinion on everything I ask," Bjorn said.
Following three straight European victories, the United States won the most recent Ryder Cup on home soil in 2016, and the next event will take place at Le Golf National in Paris in September 2018.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Andrew Bolton)