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Sunday 11 December 2016

McGinley's captaincy credentials facing test

GOLF

Karl MacGinty

Published 07/09/2011 | 05:00

PAUL McGINLEY'S credentials as a future Ryder Cup captain are likely to undergo another stern examination at next week's Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris.

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The challenge facing McGinley and his Great Britain and Ireland team was underlined yesterday with the announcement of both 10-man sides for the biennial match with a Continental team captained by Jean Van de Velde.

McGinley's hand will be strengthened by the presence of world No 2 Lee Westwood, Open Champion Darren Clarke and match-play magician Ian Poulter. Yet with four players from the world's top 13 -- Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell -- unavailable to GB&I, Van de Velde's team looks stronger on paper.

No problem there for McGinley, however, judging by the acumen he showed for team management under similar circumstances at St Nom Le Bretoche in 2009 to extend his own unbeaten record at the Seve Trophy to three (including twice as a player).

Martin Kaymer, Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia are not available to Continental Europe, but with recent back-to-back winner Thomas Bjorn prominent among the six players they boast from the world's top 40, Van de Velde has class-a-plenty at his disposal.

Four players on each side get their first taste of professional team golf at this level, with Italy's teenage sensation Matteo Manassero and Englishman David Horsey expected to state their case for future Ryder Cup selection.

Yet McGinley, unbeaten in three Ryder Cups as a player, has most to gain next week as he presses to lead the European team into the 2014 matches at Gleneagles, especially with two of his greatest rivals for that position, Clarke and Bjorn, enjoying a strong resurgence in their playing career.

"I think we have an extremely strong side with a good blend of youth and experience," said McGinley. "I am certain that our four rookies will learn an enormous amount from playing with the likes of Lee and Darren, who have performed at an elite level for many years.

"It is certain that many of the members of our team will go on to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, so this experience of team golf cannot be underestimated."

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Irish Independent

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