Couples and Hulbert handed Ryder roles

Fred Couples will be a vice captain for the USA at the Ryder Cup

Fred Couples will be a vice captain for the USA at the Ryder Cup

First published in National Sport © by

American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love has named Fred Couples and Mike Hulbert as two of his vice-captains for this September's match against holders Europe in Chicago.

Couples, 52, has led the United States to victory in the last two Presidents Cup contests and won four World Cups in a row with Love from 1992 to 1995. Hulbert, 54, was a three-time winner on the PGA Tour who caddied for close friend Love before joining the seniors circuit. He served as Curtis Strange's vice-captain at the Belfry in 2002.

"I've talked to Fred a lot since he's done so well the last couple of years with the Presidents Cup team," Love said. "I've gotten a lot of advice from him, been surprised at his level of detail and his commitment to the Presidents Cup and I know that's why the guys are lobbying for him to do it over and over again."

He added: "People see Freddie, he makes it look so easy and he's got this nice swing and he's always smiling and waving, but what's going on in his head, I think, is completely different. He really has a lot of pride in his game. It doesn't show, but he tries very, very hard."

One of the first calls Love received after he was named captain was from Strange, who told him that Hulbert was "the best assistant captain in the history of the Ryder Cup".

Love commented: "He knows a lot of guys out here and a lot of guys know him. Those two were my natural choices. My next two are going to be harder."

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal is also planning on four assistants, but is not expected to name any until after next month's Open Championship.

That is sensible given that the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Paul McGinley - favourite to lead the side at Gleneagles in 2014 - and Miguel Angel Jimenez could yet make a run at making the side.

Love is not ruling out playing himself. He would be the first playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963.

As home captain, Love, has also decided that the competition will start with foursomes rather than fourballs. Paul Azinger did the same in Kentucky four years ago and won before Colin Montgomerie switched it back at Celtic Manor.

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