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Tiger named as U.S. Ryder Cup vice captain

By Frank Pingue

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Fourteen-times major winner Tiger Woods will serve as one of the vice captains on the U.S. Ryder Cup squad that will try to snap a 25-year drought on European soil later this year, Jim Furyk said on Tuesday.

Furyk, who will serve as captain when holders United States battle Europe in September at the Golf National on the outskirts of Paris, also announced 12-times PGA Tour winner Steve Stricker as a vice captain.

"To win in Paris will be a great challenge, and to have Steve and Tiger share in the journey is important for me and for American golf," said Furyk, who made the announcement from the PGA of America Headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

"The deep appreciation they both have for competition, the concept of team, and the Ryder Cup is infectious. Their knowledge and experience will be an invaluable resource in our effort to retain the Ryder Cup."

Woods, who this week will make his third start of the PGA Tour season after a year-long absence during which he had back surgery, first served as a vice captain at Hazeltine in 2016.

The 42-year-old Woods is a veteran of seven Ryder Cups as a player, most recently in 2012. He said he was thankful to be selected as a vice captain but is still keen to earn a spot on the team as a player.

"My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do whatever I can to help us keep the Cup," Woods said in a video played at the news conference. "I'm excited about the challenge."

Furyk said Woods possesses an ability to effectively pair players together in foursomes and fourballs while also inspiring a young team room filled with players who took up the game in the hope of emulating Woods.

Woods may have plenty of ground to make up if he hopes to be a playing vice captain, but Furyk did not rule out the greatest golfer of his generation filling a dual role.

"I want to do what's best for Tiger and I want to do what's best for the team and that would be a bridge we cross when we got there," said Furyk. "If he could be valuable as a player, I mean, I'm sure we would want him playing on this team. But there's so much time to go."

This year's Ryder Cup, to be played from Sept. 28-30, will mark Stricker's third stint as a vice captain, having served at Gleneagles in 2014 and in the 2016 U.S. victory at Hazeltine.

Furyk previously appointed former Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III as a vice captain and will announce additional vice captains at a later date.

The United States won the biennial matchplay event at home in 2016, marking their first triumph since 2008, but they have not celebrated on European soil since a 15-13 victory at The Belfry in England in 1993.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)