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Saturday 30 August 2014

Monty has nothing to gain from second bite at captaincy – McIlroy

Karl MacGinty in Abu Dhabi

Published 15/01/2013 | 05:00

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Rory McIlroy

Colin Montgomerie must not be allowed block Paul McGinley's path to the Ryder Cup captaincy at Gleneagles, insists Rory McIlroy.

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Monty plainly relishes the prospect of a second spell as European captain in his native Scotland in 2014, but Ireland's world No 1 made plain his opposition to that prospect during the official launch of his new $200m Nike contract in Abu Dhabi.

"I strongly believe that everyone deserving of the Ryder Cup captaincy should get their chance," said McIlroy, before offering his strongest endorsement yet of McGinley's credentials for the job.

The Holywood star didn't pull his punches as he explained in depth for the first time why he believes McGinley should be appointed by tonight's decisive meeting of the European Tournament Players Committee in Abu Dhabi.

"I played under Paul at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and I thought he did an unbelievable job. Of any captain I've played under, I feel he has been the best," added McIlroy, who also featured on Monty's winning Ryder Cup side at Celtic Manor in 2010.

Asked to explain McGinley's best qualities, he went on: "I think it's just the small details. He doesn't leave any stone unturned and gives confidence to the team room.

"I just had a great experience playing under him. Even when he was a vice-captain in the two Ryder Cups I've played, he has always brought a lot to the table, a lot of ideas and I just think he would make a really great captain."

Since 1995, leading Europe into action at the Ryder Cup has been a once-in-a-lifetime honour and McIlroy (pictured) sees no reason now to change a system that has helped bring seven victories in the last nine matches with the US.

"I don't feel Monty has anything to gain by this because if we go to Gleneagles and lose, he's already a winning captain," he explained. "As I said, I'm fully behind Paul. I think he should get the job.

Within minutes of McIlroy's Nike press conference, McGinley was back as favourite for the job with the bookies – but the 23-year-old plainly hopes his words will have some weight with the committee when they make their deliberations tonight.

Montgomerie's campaign appeared to gather momentum yesterday morning as Sky News quoted an unnamed source very close to the camp saying they have "an extremely high level of confidence that the vote is going to go Colin Montgomerie's way".

McIlroy described his transition to his new Nike clubs as "seamless".

"The new driver is a little different. It's red, which I liked from the start and it has the cavity back which is a new design in the world of golf," he explained. "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going in the bag straight away. It just blew me away.

"My ball speed was up, my numbers were good, spin rates ... and I am hitting it further," McIlroy added. "I thought I hit it far before but this has maybe taken it to a new level, so it's great."

He's also comfortable with his new fairway woods, irons and wedges, while McIlroy said of his new putter: "I was blown away by the groove technology and how well the ball rolled coming off the club-face. I am really confident and really excited to put it in play."

He'll tee-up a firm Nike 20XIX ball when he plays with Tiger Woods in the opening 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi Championship this week as McIlroy faces the first real acid test with his new clubs.

Irish Independent

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