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Sluman & Verplank Added as Assistant Captains to U.S. Ryder Cup Team
Captain Davis Love III has announced that he's added former PGA Champion Jeff Sluman and Ryder Cup veteran Scott Verplank to serve as assistant captains for the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Love announced in June that Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert would be his other assistants. The 39th Ryder Cup is September 28-30 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.
"I'm down to the wire of my two-year journey. Now, it gets exciting," said Love, who said that he will confer with his assistants the next three weeks before September 4, when four captain's selections will be announced in New York City to complete the 12-member U.S. Team.
The 54-year-old Sluman was the 1988 PGA champion and served with Love in Wales in 2010 to U.S. captain Corey Pavin at the Celtic Manor. Verplank, 48, was a member of the 2002 and '06 U.S. teams, posting a 4-1-0 overall record.
"I obviously am going to need a lot of help with those [Captain's pick] decisions," added Love. "Scott Verplank and Jeff Sluman, two close friends of mine, are guys that have been around the game a long time. Other than Scott, who has played in the Ryder Cup, we have got guys that have been captains of teams and assistant captains.
"Mike Hulbert was with Curtis Strange (2002) back when there was only one assistant and now we have moved up to four. These are guys that I trust. They are close friends of mine. They are very engaged already, given me a lot of great advice." Love said that Sluman already is in the field working. He will be making his own site visit at Medinah."
Love said that it is a bonus to have Sluman, a resident of Hinsdale, Ill., have easy access to reviewing Medinah Country Club. "Jeff and I spent a lot of time in Wales talking about this Ryder Cup already," said Love. "He's been a big supporter of mine over the last two years, and it's great that we added him and Scott Verplank to our team. We're excited and ready to go."
"I'm just as excited as the players to be part of this Ryder Cup Team, and will do all I can to help Davis and the players win back the Ryder Cup," said Sluman. "Living in the Chicago area, I can attest that it will be a great atmosphere for the Ryder Cup. I am proud to join Scott, Fred, and Mike in supporting Davis."
Couples, 52, the 1992 Masters Champion, is a veteran of five Ryder Cup Teams (1989, '91, '93, '95, '97), posting a 7-9-4 record. Couples also served as an unbeaten Captain in the Presidents Cup, guiding the U.S. to wins in 2009 and 2011, and returns to that position in 2013. Hulbert, 54, served as assistant to 2002 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Curtis Strange, and has not competed in a Ryder Cup.
Couples and Love were teammates in the 1993, '95 and '97 Ryder Cups, and teamed to win four consecutive (1992-95) World Cup of Golf titles.
The U.S. will attempt to win back the Ryder Cup, which it relinquished in 2010 following Europe's 14˝ to 13˝ victory in Wales. The U.S. last won a Ryder Cup in 2008 after a 15-11 victory at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
European Captain José Maria Olázábal will complete his 12-member Team, August 26, with two captain's selections following the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
The above report is courtesy of the PGA of America. For more information, visit www.pga.com.