IT HAS BEEN announced at a press conference in Abu Dhabi this evening that Paul McGinley will captain Europe at the 2014 Ryder Cup captain.
The 46-year-old Dubliner, who becomes the first Irishman to earn the role, beat off competition from fellow candidates Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle, Peter Lawrie and Jose Maria Olazabal and succeeds the Spaniard in leading the 12-strong team at Gleneagles next year.
“It’s an absolute honour,” McGinley said. “To be leading the cream of the crop is very humbling. It’s a week that I’m really looking forward to. It will be a whole new experience for me.”
“This is a position I’m really thrilled to be in, a humbling experience and a situation I’m relishing.”
A number of golfers including Rory McIlroy gave McGinley their backing this week. On that support, he added:
I knew I had the support of the players. I felt that my hand was very strong to be captain. I felt the more I said the more my chances would lessen.
“That (the support from McIlroy) means a lot to me. There’s a couple of good things which happened to me in terms of getting to this role. Rory and Graeme (McDowell) played under me in the first Seve Trophy.
“It was a weakened team but we played the role of underdog that week. I really enjoyed it and I think they did too.”
Thomas Bjorn, the European Tour’s Chairman of Tournament Players Committee (TPC) Chairman, revealed five names were discussed in the meeting.
“It never got to voting. It was a unanimous decision,” Bjorn said.
“Five names were discussed – Paul Lawrie, Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle and Miguel Angel Jimenez apart from Paul. The committee is 100 percent behind McGinley.
“Our players wanted this decision. It’s never an easy choice to make, we needed to choose one and we chose the right one.”
McGinley has won the competition three times as a member of the European team, in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and credited his ability to compete at the highest level in team golf down to his GAA past.
Gaelic football is where I started. If you look at my career it’s quite modest in comparison to the ex-captains. I always performed very highly when I played in team golf.
“I don’t know why that is. Some psychologists might put it down to my Gaelic football background. The whole team dynamic and pulling together. I just love the team game.”
On his official Facebook page, McIlroy commented on the news: “Common sense prevailed in the end…. Paul McGinley 2014 European Ryder Cup captain!!! Couldn’t be happier for him… Roll on Gleneagles.”
- Additional reporting from © AFP, 2013