McGinley to captain Europe at Gleneagles
Published 15/01/2013 | 18:32
Paul McGinley has been chosen to lead Europe in their defence of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland next year.
The 46-year-old Dubliner, who becomes Ireland's first captain in the event, takes over from Jose Maria Olazabal against an American side that will have golfing great Tom Watson back in charge at the age of 65.
McGinley holed the 10-foot winning putt on his debut at The Belfry in 2002 and was also part of the victorious sides in 2004 and 2006 before becoming an assistant to Colin Montgomerie three years ago and then Olazabal at Medinah - both wins as well, of course.
McGinley said: "It's a week that I'm really looking forward to. I'm obviously very pleased to be in this situation. This is a position that I'm really thrilled to be in, and it's also a very humbling experience. I can't wait to get into the role of being the captain.
"I'm relishing the thought of taking on one of my great heroes, Tom Watson. He's not only a wonderful person abut a great ambassador for the game of golf.
"I've never had an opportunity to go up against him in a playing sense. To go up against him in a captaincy sense will be a real thrill for me."
He had been in the frame for the job ever since being made Britain and Ireland captain against Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy in 2009. Whether hitting the shots or not, he was never on the losing side there either.
Despite the credentials, he faced competition for the captaincy first from Darren Clarke, another of the vice-captains in the last two matches, and then Montgomerie.
However, Clarke, two years younger, declared last Friday that "this may not be my time" and asked not to be considered at Tuesday's meeting of the European Tour's tournament committee in Abu Dhabi.
Having won the 2011 Open and come through a slump in form, he wants to play in the match again - his last cap was seven years ago - and now becomes favourite to take charge in America in 2016.