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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Faldo picks Ryder Cup assistants
Nick Faldo
Faldo takes over from Ian Woosnam as Europe's captain
European Ryder Cup captain Nick Faldo has named Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley as his two assistants for next year's competition in America.

But Faldo, 49, said he would select late alternatives should either of them qualify to play again.

Spain's Olazabal, 41, has played in seven Ryder Cups, while Ireland's McGinley, 40, has won three caps.

"These are two guys I have got a good chemistry with," Faldo said ahead of the PGA Championship at Wentworth.

"One (Olazabal) mainly plays in America and one (McGinley) mainly plays in Europe.

"I felt that was very important, for me to have good eyes and ears close to the ground, good feedback, and also for the players to know lines of communication were now open."

Olazabal, who made his debut in the event in 1987, formed an illustrious partnership with countryman Seve Ballesteros in the late 80s and early 90s, winning 11, halving two and losing two of their 15 matches together.

Obviously it's a great feeling but he knows it is my intention to be part of the team as a player

Jose Maria Olazabal

McGinley, meanwhile, holed the winning putt at The Belfry on his debut in 2002.

"Olly has great passion and incredible determination. I don't know where he got that from, but it might have something to do with his partnership with Seve," said Faldo.

"I've already had a couple of chats with Paul and he came up with a very good point that the players look to people in this era rather than captains of the past. I've not been part of a Ryder Cup for the last 10 years."

Both players were members of Ian Woosnam's side that romped to a record-equalling victory over the USA in the biennial matchplay event at the K Club in Ireland last September.

"Their number one goal is still to make the team and I am in full support of that," said England's six-time major champion Faldo.

"If they both do make the team I'll go back to the woods and come up with a couple of different names."

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Olazabal was invited to be an assistant captain by both Sam Torrance in 2002 and Bernhard Langer in 2004.

He turned them down because he wanted to try to play his way into the side, failing to achieve his goal on both occasions.

Asked why he accepted this time, the 41-year-old said: "I'm getting older. Obviously it's a great feeling, but Nick knows it is my intention to be part of the team as a player.

"It's nice to be named by Nick to help him in any area I can and we will just see how things develop."

McGinley, who is a year younger than Olazabal, said: "What a great honour to be picked by Nick, but the main thing is that I want to play in this one.

"I'm thrilled that I'll be involved one way or another. I did think about it and asked some people's advice as my fear was losing the focus on my own game.

"Once I got that right in my head I was more than delighted to go ahead."

Europe will be aiming for a fourth straight win when they tee off on 19 September, 2008, in the 37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla, Kentucky.

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