Darren Clarke says the timing of his Ryder Cup captaincy could not be better as he attempts to lead Europe to a historic fourth successive victory at Hazeltine, United States in 2016.
His good friend Davis Love will lead the American team for the second time.
"If I could have chosen where and when, then it would have been America and now," said 46-year-old Clarke.
"Europe has a chance to make history and I am absolutely thrilled to have that opportunity."
Clarke succeeds Irishman Paul McGinley, who led Europe to a five-point victory over the USA at Gleneagles in 2014.
The winner of the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George's has lost just once in the seven times he has been involved in the Ryder Cup - the defeat at Brookline in 1999.
After a quartet of victories as a player - in 1997, 2002, 2004 and 2006 - Clarke helped successive captains Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal achieve success as vice-captain in 2010 and 2012.
The USA last won the tournament in 2008 at Valhalla in Kentucky while Europe have won eight of the last 10 tournaments.
Love was in charge of the United States when they lost on home soil in 2012, known as the Miracle of Medinah.
Europe fought back from 10-6 down going into the final day's singles to win 14½-13½.
Northern Ireland's Clarke added: "What made this honour even more amazing is that Davis Love has been elected American captain. We have been very good friends ever since I first started playing in America and I have the upmost respect for him as both a player and a person.
"It won't stop me doing everything I possibly can to ensure the European team beats his, but whatever the result we will remain friends first and foremost."