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Langer names Forsbrand as vice captain

European Ryder Cup skipper Bernhard Langer on Wednesday appointed Sweden's Anders Forsbrand as his vice-captain for this September's Ryder Cup.

Although the 42-year-old Forsbrand has never played against the United States in a Ryder Cup, Langer said he had opted for the Swede because of his strength of character and more than 20 years' experience on the European Tour.

"Anders was my first choice," Langer told reporters during the build-up to this week's Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass.

"He has enormous respect throughout the world of golf and, with 22 years of competing on the European Tour, he is well known to all our players."

Holders Europe will defend the Ryder Cup against the U.S. at Oakland Hills in Michigan from September 17-19, when the hosts will be captained by Hal Sutton. Sutton will be assisted by former major winners Steve Jones and Jackie Burke Jr.

"I'm so excited at the thought of being at Oakland Hills in September," said Forsbrand, one of the early pioneers of Swedish professional golf.

"My compatriots have certainly made the Ryder Cup a part of their lives with Joakim Haeggman being the first Swede to play in 1993 and Per-Ulrik Johansson, Jesper Parnevik, Jarmo Sandelin, Niclas Fasth and Pierre Fulke all subsequently making the team."

Langer did not specify Forsbrand's duties, but said he would be using the Swede as a sounding board and scout: "He has a wealth of experience when it comes to international matches.

"It is imperative to have a vice-captain with whom both I and all the players feel extremely comfortable."

Forsbrand, who lives at Ponte Vedra Beach, will make at least one visit to Oakland Hills before the September showdown and would assist Langer in his two captain's picks, the German added.

The 12-man European team will comprise the leading five players in a world rankings points list, a further five from a European Ryder Cup points list plus two wildcard selections.

Forsbrand, a veteran of the European Tour since 1982, led Sweden to their maiden victory in the Alfred Dunhill Cup team competition at St Andrews in 1991.

He enjoyed his best season in Europe in 1992, winning twice and finishing fourth on the order of merit.

In 1993, he became the first Swede to play in all four majors in the same year, including a tie for 11th at the U.S. Masters.

Forsbrand turned professional in 1981 and has won six titles on the European Tour, the last of them coming at the German Masters in 1995.

Langer said Sweden's Joakim Haeggman would be appointed as a Ryder Cup assistant, if he did not qualify as a player on the team. The Swede performed the same role for European captain Sam Torrance at the 2002 Ryder Cup.

"He did an outstanding job at the Belfry last time," Langer said of Haeggman, who is ranked 15th in the European Ryder Cup points standings.

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