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That's why Paul had my support as captain, says Rory McIlroy

By Carl Markham

World number one Rory McIlroy insists he is not the new Ryder Cup king-maker, but appreciates that his voice was heard.

Along with Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, four-time major winner McIlroy put his full support behind Paul McGinley when the European captaincy for Gleneagles was being decided in January 2013.

McGinley received widespread praise from both within and outside the team for the way he handled preparations and the event itself as he guided Europe to a 16.5 to 11.5 win over the United States.

Attention is already turning towards who will lead the side at Hazeltine in 2016 and while McIlroy will offer his views he played down the significance of his support.

"I wouldn't say I am a king-maker but I feel like my opinion and view is listened to," he said.

"I wanted to throw all my support behind Paul because I thought this would be his only chance to do it and I knew there was no better candidate and I'm glad he proved me right this week."

McGinley's methods of inclusivity and meticulous attention to detail were appreciated by the players and contrasted starkly with that of the United States.

America's most experienced player Phil Mickelson opened a rift at the post-event press conference after criticising the management of Tom Watson – sat just a couple of yards away – saying the players were never consulted on any decisions.

McIlroy felt McGinley got his approach just right as communication with the team was vital.

"Of course it is, you have to make sure your players are comfortable," he added. "We had a great team meeting on Saturday evening about where we wanted to play and what order we wanted to go out in. I know Paul has lived and breathed the Ryder Cup for the last two years and has made sure everything has gone right and gone to plan. I hope it is something that future European captains can go on with, it is a template to follow.

"As Paul said all week he didn't want to reinvent the wheel he just wanted to enhance it and that is what he did. I am probably a little biased but I'd say he was the best captain (in McIlroy's three Ryder Cups).

"I played under Paul at the Seve Trophy and I had a great week there and I think Paul took a lot from Bernhard Langer's captaincy at Oakland Hills (in 2004) and he put a lot of his principles into his captaincy: very German, very efficient and meticulous.

"I don't think anyone on this team could criticise in any way anything he did this week."

By comparison Watson's approach appeared to be muddled and confused and did not seem to follow any set plan but McIlroy said they did not know or care what was happening inside their opponents' locker room.

"We really didn't pay attention to what was going on in the American team or how the dynamic was, we were just concentrating on ourselves," McIlroy added.

"We knew we had solid pairings and solid partnerships and we knew if we did our job that is all we could control. The way we won was very satisfying."

Belfast Telegraph


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