PAUL MCGINLEY will become the first Irishman to captain the European Ryder Cup team when the always fascinating battle resumes against Tom Watson’s Americans in Scotland in 2014.
McGinley’s appointment has just been announced, scotching recent suggestions the more high profile Colin Montgomerie might be brought in to face the American legend and his team at Gleneagles.
McGinley, a four time winner on The European Tour, made three consecutive, and victorious, Ryder Cup appearances from 2002 – 2006 and will always be remembered as the man who holed the winning putt during his first appearance at the Belfry 11 years ago.
McGinley succeeds José María Olazábal and will be hell bent on retaining the Ryder Cup following the Spaniard’s brilliant stewardship of Europe’s ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in Chicago last year.
The 46 year old was an able Vice-Captain to Olazábal in 2012 and filled the same role for Scotsman Montgomerie’s victorious 2010 Team at The Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
Rory McIlroy was among those coming out in support of McGinley when Montgomerie’s name started to be mentioned.
“It will be a very disappointing day for the European Tour if Paul McGinley doesn’t get it,” McIlroy said recently. “I’m afraid politics is getting in the way of making the right choice. Monty has done it already. He’s been a winning captain. I don’t think he has to go back and do it again.”
McGinley was delighted to be officially offered the job by the Tournament Committee of The European Tour.
“I’m really, really thrilled,” he said. “It’s also a very humbling experience. It’s also a situation I’m relishing. I can’t wait to get into the captain’s responsibilities and begin working with the players who have shown so much support for me.”