Wednesday 24 January 2018

Above all else Darren must trust himself, says McGinley

Darren Clarke celebrates with Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington after Europe's Ryder Cup at The K Club in 2006 in Straffan. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Darren Clarke celebrates with Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington after Europe's Ryder Cup at The K Club in 2006 in Straffan. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images

Karl MacGinty

Paul McGinley won't be lured back into the fray as a vice-captain at Hazeltine or any future Ryder Cup arena, though the Dubliner pledges full support to his successor Darren Clarke.

"Obviously I'll be rooting for him and will give him every help I can," vowed McGinley, whose performance at Gleneagles led Clarke to say: "Paul was fantastic. Clearly, I've got pretty big shoes to fill."

Having reached the pinnacle, McGinley "can't see myself being a vice-captain for Darren or anyone else. I know Jose Maria Olazabal and Sam Torrance came back and did it but I don't think I've the personality to do that."

At Hazeltine next year, Clarke plans to follow the famous 'formula' put in place by his predecessor, including three wild cards and five vice-captains.

"All you guys know how good a job Paul did. I think it'd be very silly to move away from that."

Personality

Still, McGinley will also urge Clarke to be his own man. "I think Darren will do a very good job. He'll represent us well and bring his own personality to it. The best advice I can give him is just to be himself and to do what he believes is right.

"It's not about following me or Jose or Monty or anyone else who's done it before and won," he added. "It's about doing what's best for him and how he sees it … being faithful to himself."

McGinley's friendship with Clarke suffered during the latter's uncharacteristically ham-fisted on-off bid for the European captaincy in 2014 but this had no bearing on the search for the right man for 2016.

Typically, McGinley canvassed the players. "It's not the be all and end all," he said. "But the players' view is very important. I spoke to the majority of them, found out where they stand and that to a large extent crystallised my view as to where the captaincy should go. It was quite clear Darren had a lot of support."

Ironically, Clarke's first Ryder Cup game was a Saturday fourball at Valderrama in 1997 with Colin Montgomerie against, of all people, Davis Love III and Fred Couples. They won by one-hole against the two guys now vying for the US captaincy. Clarke's good friend Love is likely to be in the opposite corner at Hazeltine. He'll have the advantage of experience, having captained the home team in the 2012 'Miracle at Medinah'.

Though his four predecessors cut their teeth as captains at the Seve Trophy, Clarke points to first-timers Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer and Torrance: "They did okay, didn't they?"

Irish Independent

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