And then there were five.

The addition of Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal to Paul McGinley's Ryder Cup set-up completed a European backroom team of considerable experience. Along with the golden oldies Sam Torrance and Des Smyth, the trio of Harrington, Jimenez and Olazabal can boast 17 cup appearances among them.

Harrington, a compatriot of McGinley's and a veteran of six cup campaigns, was a fairly obvious choice given the close bond between the two Dubliners. "Padraig is my oldest friend on Tour and is a guy I've known most of my life," said McGinley. "We went to school together, came through the amateur ranks together and have been together in many contests for both Ireland and Europe over the years, so I know what he can bring to the team room."

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Jimenez continues to be groomed as a future Ryder Cup captain and was handed the skipper's role of the EurAsia Cup by McGinley last December. Olazabal, meanwhile, has made a swift return to the fray two years after captaining Europe to that astonishing triumph in Medinah.

"It will [prove to] be a masterstroke," suggested Stephen Gallacher, the European rookie.

McGinley added: "Jose Maria's passion for the Ryder Cup is recognised the world over and I'm delighted he has accepted my invitation to be involved again, once more maintaining that important continuity.

"I know it's been common in the past to have three or four vice-captains. But I've gone for five because I feel an extra person is justified due to the additional workload which comes from being the home team. I also saw such a system working well when we ended up having five vice-captains under Colin Montgomerie in 2010."

There was no room for Paul Lawrie, however. The Scot would have been a popular addition and would have brought a wealth of local knowledge to proceedings. In terms of his future ambitions of captaining Europe, it's hardly encouraging that he has been snubbed for a Ryder Cup in Scotland. Let's hope he is not marginalised to the extent another former major winner, Sandy Lyle, has been.