History, List of Ryder Cup Assistant Captains

Every other year at the Ryder Cup, the two team captains are helped by assistant captains of their own choosing. Those Ryder Cup assistants today are called "vice captains," and in recent Cups their ranks have swelled to around five per side.

Assistant captains were not a thing in the Ryder Cup prior to the 1990s. And the first Ryder Cup assistant captains weren't called vice captains, but rather "partial helpers." That odd term was applied a handful of times in the 1990s and infrequently after that.

(Related: The list of Ryder Cup captains)

Is there any difference between a "vice captain" and a "partial helper"? The early partial helpers were not considered, officially (by the PGA of America or the European Tour, which run the Ryder Cup), parts of the team. For example, they didn't attend the opening ceremonies or team meetings. They were there to run errands, provide advice or anything else the respective Team USA and Team Europe captains needed.

As the role became more formalized, the term "vice captain" was adopted, and today those vice captains are fully part of the Ryder Cup and deeply involved in their respective teams.

In the early Ryder Cups that used assistant captains, those captains were sometimes literally just friends of the captain. Tom Kite, for example, chose a buddy who was a PGA Professional; Ben Crenshaw used his agent as a partial helper; Lanny Wadkins chose his brother and Dave Stockton his two sons.

In recent years, both Team USA and Team Europe have settled on around five vice captains each. On Days 1 and 2, when four doubles matches are in play at each session, that allows one assistant captain per side to be assigned to monitor each match and report to the captain.

List of Ryder Cup Assistant Captains

"Partial helpers" were first part of the Ryder Cup beginning in 1991, and the term "vice captains" was first used in 1999 when the role became formalized.

So, going back to 1991, these are the assistant captains in the Ryder Cup:

2021

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Steve Stricker: Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III
  • Europe vice captains selected by Padraig Harrington: Robert Karlsson, Luke Donald

2018

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Jim Furyk: Davis Love III, Steve Stricker, David Duval, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar (Note: Tiger Woods was named a vice captain, but was replaced in that position after being chosen as a player for the team.)
  • Europe vice captains selected by Thomas Bjorn: Robert Karlsson, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood. Partial helper: Raphael Jacquelin

2016

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Davis Love III: Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods
  • Europe vice captains selected by Darren Clarke: Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter, Sam Torrance

2014

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Tom Watson: Raymond Floyd, Andy North, Steve Stricker
  • Europe vice captains selected by Paul McGinley: Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jose Maria Olazabal, Des Smyth, Sam Torrance

2012

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Davis Love III: Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman, Scott Verplank
  • Europe vice captains selected by Jose Maria Olazabal: Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul McGinley

2010

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Corey Pavin: Paul Goydos, Tom Lehman, Davis Love III, Jeff Sluman
  • Europe vice captains selected by Colin Montgomerie: Thomas Bjorn, Sergio Garcia, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke. Partial helper: Jose Maria Olazabal

2008

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Paul Azinger: Olin Browne, Raymond Floyd, Dave Stockton
  • Europe vice captain selected by Nick Faldo: Jose Maria Olazabal

2006

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Tom Lehman: David Ogrin, Corey Pavin, Loren Roberts, Duffy Waldorf
  • Europe vice captains selected by Ian Woosnam: Peter Baker, Des Smyth, David J. Russell

2004

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Hal Sutton: Jack Burke Jr., Steve Jones
  • Europe vice captains selected by Bernhard Langer: Thomas Bjorn, Anders Forsbrand

2002

  • U.S. vice captain selected by Curtis Strange: Mike Hulbert
  • Europe vice captains selected by Sam Torrance: Joakim Haeggman, Mark James, Ian Woosnam

1999

  • U.S. vice captains selected by Ben Crenshaw: Bruce Lietzke, Bill Rogers. Partial helper: Scotty Sayers
  • Europe vice captains selected by Mark James: Ken Brown, Sam Torrance

1997

  • U.S. partial helper selected by Tom Kite: Dennis Satyshur
  • Europe partial helpers selected by Seve Ballesteros: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Mark James, Tommy Horton

1995

  • U.S. partial helper selected by Lanny Wadkins: Bobby Wadkins
  • Europe partial helper selected by Bernard Gallacher: Manuel Pinero

1993

  • U.S. partial helper selected by Tom Watson: Stan Thirsk
  • Europe partial helper selected by Bernard Gallacher: Manuel Pinero

1991

  • U.S. partial helpers selected by Dave Stockton: Dave Stockton Jr., Ron Stockton
  • Europe partial helper selected by Bernard Gallacher: Manuel Pinero

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