Paul McGinley On Being The New Ryder Cup Captain
By Jake O'Reilly
16 January 2013 13:31
Irishman Paul McGinley has been announced as the new European Ryder Cup captain for the 2014 match at Gleneagles.
He has made three winning appearances on the team - including holing the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 - and continued his overall unbeaten streak when he was Vice Captain to both Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor and José Maria Olazábal at Medinah.
On the news, McGinley said: "Obviously I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted to have this honour. To lead the crème of the crop in the Ryder Cup is going to be a huge honour.
"To be quite honest, it's a very, very humbling experience to be sitting in this seat; and it's a week that I'm really, really looking forward to and it will be a whole new experience for me in terms of being a captain. I've been there many times as a player, and also as a Vice Captain, and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."
European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady added: "I think it's a wonderful achievement for Paul, which reflects his great service to The European Tour, his outstanding leadership in the Seve Trophy, Vivendi Trophy; and was carried by unanimous decision of the players' committee, which I think is a testament to the democracy of the process."
McGinley had to fight off strong challenges from both Darren Clarke and a late surge from Colin Montgomerie, but never spoke out himself about his chances. He said: "I knew I had the support of the players. I thought my hand was very strong to be the captain and if it was meant to be, it was meant to be and I felt that the more I would say, the more my chances would lessen.”
"I read and followed every word that went down the last few weeks and watched with interest. Like a yo yo, my chances seemed to go up and down and up and down. But I'm obviously very pleased to be in this situation, and I thought that I've had a really good apprenticeship in two Seve Trophies, Vivendi Trophies, and this is a position that I'm really, really thrilled to be in."
While the decision was being discussed, McGinley "went to my room and watched the time go by, very slowly I have to say. I was looking at the clock very closely, how long it was taking and I was obviously delighted when the news came through. I'm absolutely thrilled."
The only doubts expressed in some circles were aimed at the lack of the Irishman’s personal success, but he replied, saying: "I obviously don't match the record that the former captains have in terms of what they have achieved in major championships and whatnot. But what I did do in my career was always perform extremely highly when I did play as part of a team.
“I don't know why. I wish I could have done the same as an individual. But I certainly went to another level when I played in team golf. My heart ticks a bit faster and my adrenaline goes more and I just love the environment of being in a team.
“Ryder Cup situations, I love the team meetings, I love everything that goes with it, the pageantry, everything that goes with it. I don't know what that X factor is but I seem to go to another level when I do play when I'm involved in team golf."
He also spoke about his “hero” and rival captain, Tom Watson, saying: “not only is he a wonderful person, but he's a great ambassador for the game of golf and has been for a long, long time.
“I never had the opportunity of going up against him in a playing sense, but to have an opportunity of going up against him in a captaincy sense is going to be a real thrill for me and it's one that I'm really relishing to do.”
McGinley continued: “I've learned a lot from watching other captains and I'll try to take a little bit from all of the captains that I've played under and observed. I've played under a who’s who of European golf in terms of captaincy from Bernhard to Woosie to Sam, you can go through them all right through to Seve, Monty, Olazábal.
“As I said earlier, I would like to think I'm going to take a little bit from everybody. I've learned so much from all of them, as a player, and I've also learned a lot from Ollie and Monty, as well, as Vice Captain.
“I would like to think that I will take a lot of the lessons I've learned, along with some of my own ideas, as well, too, that I had at the Seve Trophy, and take those and move those forward into my captaincy.”
He added that he will not announce his own Vice Captains any time soon, but “should have a good idea coming towards the end of the season where I'm going to go with that.”
Committee member Thomas Bjorn said: “It was our job to discuss everybody that's been thrown around, and we discussed them all thoroughly. Our players on Tour wanted us to make this decision, and we listened to our players and that's who we represent.
“I think that as captain, he will bring the Tour even more together. He is one of us. There has never been a distance to Paul. He's a guy you can talk to. He's got great opinions and he's been fantastic in The Ryder Cup.”
On the late Montgomerie charge, Bjorn said: “Amongst those members of that committee, there's a general feel that you should have one go at it. But to make that a rule would just tie our hands in the future. There's no need to make a rule like that, we don't feel. Why should we change the winning formula?"
On being a playing captain, McGinlety said: “My world ranking has slipped over the last few years, I'm 46 years of age now and coming into the twilight of my career.
“I think it's very important that we have a captain of the Ryder Cup Team who is still competitive on Tour, and that's what I intend to be over the next two years.”