Corey Pavin says Team USA face a big challenge in trying to retain the Ryder Cup and feels he will not be able to do it alone, underscoring the importance of assistants. Image Credit: AP

Dubai : Corey Pavin, the United States Ryder Cup captain, has defended his decision to appoint four vice-captains to assist him as he presides over the American team at this year's Cup in Celtic Manor, Wales, in October.

Pavin named Tom Lehman, Jeff Sluman, Davis Love III and Paul Goydos as his assistants on the eve of the Northern Trust Open at the Riviera Country Club in California. Pavin was Lehman's assistant at the 2006 Ryder Cup, which was won by Europe. Sluman, meanwhile, has served as Jack Nicklaus' vice-captain at three Presidents Cups. Love and Goydos could qualify for the US team, but have still accepted Pavin's invitation.

"In exactly 240 days, the first shot of the 38th Ryder Cup will be struck in Wales at Celtic Manor. We're all excited about the Ryder Cup, but there's a lot to do between now and then," Pavin said at a press conference.

"Team USA faces a big challenge in trying to retain the Ryder Cup and I will not be able to do it alone. Having been an assistant in 2006, I know how important this role can be.

"I have hand-picked them because of their intelligence, experience and ability to express their own opinions without hesitation. They have unique perspectives to bring to the table which I believe will bring a great balance of leadership to Team USA.

"I will lean on these four men for advice, and they will play an integral role in helping our team bond so that we can reach our ultimate goal of retaining the Ryder Cup."

Love and Goydos both said they were "honoured" to receive Pavin's invite to come on board. "One of my goals has always been to play and a secondary goal was to be a captain. It's going to be great to get a shot at both this year. I'm thrilled, I'm very, very excited and I'm looking forward to getting to know these players," Love said.

Goydos added: "It's an unbelievable honour. It's going to be a chance of a lifetime. I'd obviously like to play well this year and at least have a shot."

Pavin said he decided to pick four men because "he wanted eyes out here on the Tour" so that he could call the shots in the build up to the tournament.

"I wanted to be able to get on the phone and call these guys up and say, ‘Hey, go talk to so-and-so or try to play a practice round with so-and-so and then get back to me about that."