Friday 24 November 2017

McGinley coy on 2014 captaincy question

Bernie McGuire in Abu Dhabi

Paul McGinley played down his status as 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy favourite ahead of Jose Maria Olazabal's formal confirmation today as 2012 European team leader.

In contrast to recent protocol, Olazabal accepted the captaincy for Medinah after a phone poll was conducted over the Christmas break among members of the Tournament Players Committee, of which McGinley is a member.

Usually, and as was the case in Abu Dhabi two years ago with the selection of Colin Montgomerie, the 15-man committee sit down formally to discuss the merits of a prospective new captain.

But with Olazabal advising committee chairman Thomas Bjorn he would be available to lead Europe in 21 months' time, McGinley indicated it was a "mere formality" for Olazabal to be made the new captain. Others on the committee include Darren Clarke, Paul Casey, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Montgomerie and Henrik Stenson.

"All the members of the committee have been in discussion over the phone these past few weeks and, with Jose Maria indicating he wanted the job, then it hardly needed a vote, and besides the opinion amongst the committee members was unanimous," said McGinley. "Jose Maria will make a brilliant captain. He'll be outstanding.

"He was such a foregone conclusion the committee agreed we might as well get it announced and over with."

McGinley was then quizzed how different the seven-times Ryder Cup capped Spaniard would be from the hapless Nick Faldo, who led Europe to a disastrous defeat in 2008.


"I've been out on Tour for 20 years and I can't believe you asked me such a loaded question like that -- I can't believe you tried it on me," McGinley laughed.

But he was a lot more serious when the subject of the 2014 captaincy at Gleneagles was raised given the Dubliner is now a favourite to succeed Olazabal as European skipper.

"I don't want to get into that subject and given the way I went last year, and my injury and all that, I am a million miles away from just even making the team," he said.

"As for the captaincy, I know that I am the more mature of the likely candidates in line but that's also two years down the road, and anything could happen in the next two years.

"So talk about me being a Ryder Cup captain is way, way too premature, and I just don't want to go there."

McGinley was speaking after yesterday's Emirates Airline Invitational at the new Yas Links course in Abu Dhabi.

Among the 51 other pros competing in the 18-hole Pro-Am was new joint world No 4 Graeme McDowell. And McDowell, who will join his fellow Major champions of 2010 in Thursday's Abu Dhabi Championship is equally delighted that Olazabal will be leading Europe at Medinah.

"Jose Maria is going to be a magnificent captain and I really enjoyed getting to know him through the Ryder Cup on the past two occasions," said McDowell.

"He's a great motivator and he will do a fantastic job. Jose Maria took me under his wing in Valhalla two years ago and really helped get me through the week, so he's great.

"And also of all the team room memories I have of Valhalla in 2008 most of them where of the speeches he made in front of the team... being on Jose Maria's side will be something else."

Irish Independent

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