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Langer named as 2004 Ryder Cup Captain

Bernhard Langer has been picked to captain the European team in the 2004 Ryder Cup.

The German was given the nod ahead of Ian Woosnam, who was assistant to Sam Torrance when Europe triumphed at The Belfry last September, and Sandy Lyle.

"It's a fabulous honour to be named European captain," said Langer.

"I've never made a secret of how much I enjoy being part of the Ryder Cup, and to be the captain makes me feel very proud, especially as the first German golfer to hold this prestigious role.

"It has been an enlightening experience to play under five Ryder Cup captains in John Jacobs, Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher, Seve Ballesteros and Sam Torrance.

"They are all very different in their own way and, hopefully, I can take a little of what I have learned from all of them to live up to the very high standards they set in the 24 years since the Ryder Cup was opened up to Continental Europe."

Next year's tournament reverts to the US and will be held at the Oakland Hills course in Michigan from 17-19 September.

He will go head to head with American captain Hal Sutton, but Langer said he was sure the competition would be played in a good spirit.

"[Sutton] was among the first to call and congratulate me on my appointment," said Langer.

"We did a few commercials together and I've always enjoyed his company. You can be sure we will both be doing all we can to make sure the match is played in the right spirit."

Langer has been a stalwart of the European Ryder Cup team, lying second behind Nick Faldo with 10 tournament appearances.

He will bring a gritty determination to get the job done and leave no stone unturned in his search for perfection

In that time he has picked up 24 points out of a possible 42, including 3½ out of 4 points at the Belfry.

He has won over 50 tournaments in a glittering career, with the highlights being two Masters titles.

He has also won the European Order of Merit in 1981 and 1984.

But Langer has had his share of lows, having to battle the yips on a number of occasions, and missing a six-foot putt that would have retained the Ryder Cup for Europe at Kiawah Island in 1991.

Sandy Lyle - himself a possible candidate for the captaincy - said he felt Langer was "probably the best man" for the job.

"He is highly rated by the players and he is still playing with them," said Lyle.

"He is very methodical and will cover all the angles."

Mark James, chairman of the European tour's tournament committee, said: "I think he was the obvious choice because of his connections in America and he has an American wife.

"He will bring all the qualities he has shown on tour - a gritty determination to get the job done and leave no stone unturned in his search for perfection."

Langer said he had not yet had time to think about a possible vice-captain.

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