Paul McGinley named European Ryder Cup Captain for 2014
The European Tour's Tournament Committee convened in Abu Dhabi, the site of this weeks Championship, to discuss the issue of who should lead the European side at the 2014 Ryder Cup, at Gleneagles. After two hours of discussion, during which the names of Colin Montgomerie, Sandy Lyle, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Lawrie were considered, Paul McGinley was unveiled as the man to lead Team Europe.
The 46-year-old from Dublin, becomes the first man from Ireland to captain Europe, and brings a depth of experience to the role. A veteran of three winning teams, in 2002, 2004 and 2006, McGinley possess a winning mentality, in addition to the elation of sinking the winning putt at The Belfry, to clinch the Cup for Sam Torrance's side, in his debut.
McGinley furthered that playing experience, in becoming a captain. He has twice led the Great Britain and Ireland side to victory in the Seve Trophy, in 2009 and 2011, with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell playing under him. He has furthered that experience, serving as a Vice-Captain in the Ryder Cup, for Colin Montgomerie in 2010, and Jose Maria Olazabal in 2012.
In the end, that experience has clinched this role for him, as many of these players have come publically out in support of him. None more so than World Number One Rory McIlroy, who revealed his support on Twitter, then furthering it in public, telling BBC Sport: "I think it will be a disappointing day for the European Tour if it doesn't go Paul McGinley's way. I feel very strongly about it and I have voiced my opinion, and hopefully they will make the right choice." http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/golf/21017118
This support was hugely beneficial to McGinley, given the clamour to appoint an apparent "bigger name" candidate, to match the status of American captain Tom Watson. Watson is a legendary figure, both in the winder spectrum of the game but particularly in Scotland, where he won four Open Championships, and has become a revered, almost mythical figure amongst the Scottish galleries.
This led to speculation that the European Tour may have turned to Darren Clarke, who subsequently ruled himself out, or Colin Montgomerie, the winning captain in 2010. Certainly, Montgomerie was considered, as were Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Lawrie, and Scottish legend Sandy Lyle. A selection for Montgomerie would have been hugely controversial, given the European's long-standing policy that the Captaincy is a "one-time" appointment. This is a policy which has been in place since 1997, and in the eight Ryder Cups since, Europe have won six of them.
McGinley had the support of journalists, fans, and, most importantly, the leading European players. Intelligent, articulate, and charming, he will serve as an excellent ambassador of the game over the next two years, and will prove to be a compelling opponent to Tom Watson, as the Ryder Cup returns to Scotland, the Home of Golf, at Gleneagles, in 2014.
There are just 619 days until the opening shot is hit on the Friday morning in the heart of Perthshire. The countdown is on.