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Friday 22 September 2017

McGinley not swayed by Clarke rift

Paul McGinley will not captain the Ryder Cup side again
Paul McGinley will not captain the Ryder Cup side again

Paul McGinley insists his strained relationship with Darren Clarke will not influence his opinion on who should be Europe's next Ryder Cup captain.

Clarke is odds-on favourite to lead the side at Hazeltine in 2016, when Europe will be looking to claim their fourth straight victory and ninth in the last 11 contests.

The former Open champion sent McGinley a letter in 2011 offering his support for the latter's bid to become captain in 2014, but later changed his mind and also put himself forward for the role.

And w hen Tom Watson was named US captain in December 2012, Clarke suggested 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie should also be considered as "whoever it is standing on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence".

With the public backing of players such as Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter, McGinley subsequently won the day but admitted recently that his conversations with Clarke were now "short and sweet" and amounted to little more than passing pleasantries.

However, the 47-year-old vowed to be professional when the new selection process gets under way.

Since 1999, the captain was selected by the European Tour's 15-strong tournament committee, but changes announced in August last year mean the responsibility now falls to the previous three captains (McGinley, Jose Maria Olazabal and Montgomerie), the Tour's chief executive and a tournament committee representative.

Asked by Press Association Sport if his relationship with Clarke would be a problem, McGinley said: "Abs olutely no problem whatsoever. I'm going to be very professional in my input.

"I'm going to get opinions from a lot of players and a lot of people before I put my opinion forward as to what it will be. Just like I was very much pushed over the line by the players, I want to get the opinion of the players.

"I think we're very fortunate in Europe, a little bit like the Liverpool soccer team and the boot room, I think a lot of us have benefited hugely from being vice-captains. Darren has been a vice-captain along with many other guys. We will see where that all evolves and I'll make a professional decision based on the views of people that I respect."

As to whether he would be a vice-captain under Clarke, McGinley added: "I don't think I'd be vice-captain to anybody going forward to be honest. I'm very happy to help in an unofficial capacity but I don't think I have the personality to go back in as vice-captain.

"I would like to be able to support the new captain in whatever direction he went, and if I had a belief about a different area, I'm afraid there would be a conflict."

That means McGinley's Ryder Cup career is officially over, a career which has seen three wins as a player (2002, 2004 and 2006), two as a vice-captain (2010 and 2012) and one as captain.

"That's six I have been involved in and six wins," he said. "L ike a heavyweight fighter, I will retire undefeated."

Undefeated but perhaps not uninvolved, McGinley raising the possibility of using his expertise in the same way he got former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to speak to the team on Tuesday.

"I would certainly like to play a role, if required, a little bit like Alex Ferguson did this week for me," he added. "I bounced ideas off him. He didn't preach to me. He didn't tell me what to do, but what he did was he solidified my ideas and he gave me confidence that, yeah, my hunches were right.

"I certainly won't be pushing myself forward (but) whoever the next captain may be, if he has any questions, I'll help in any single way I can."

McGinley admitted his one regret at Gleneagles was not having enough time to coach Ian Poulter in the role of senior player for his partnership with Stephen Gallacher, the untried duo losing 5&4 on the opening morning.

But he praised Poulter for accepting his somewhat limited role during the week, the top European points scorer in each of the previous three contests playing just twice before the singles.

"I had to make some tough calls, really tough calls," added McGinley, who said his decision not to pick Luke Donald as a wild card was still eating away at him; Donald sending McGinley a long text of congratulations on Sunday evening.

"All along I had thought that Ian Poulter was going to play in the second afternoon, and he thought he was going to play, and at the 11th hour I decided on Martin Kaymer instead and to break up that dynamic of Poulter and (Justin) Rose which has been so successful. That was a big call.

"But the way Ian accepted that decision, I mean, he came out to me on the golf course in the afternoon and he was consoling me. That means more to me than the Ian Poulter banging on his heart and what he did in Medinah."

Press Association

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