Rory McIlroy backs Paul McGinley over Colin Montgomerie for Ryder Cup

World No 1 endorses Irishman after 2010's winning captain makes surprise late entrance into the running

Abu Dhabi

The emergence of Colin Montgomerie as a candidate for the Ryder Cup captaincy has Abu Dhabi in a spin ahead of tonight's selection meeting. It could turn out to be just that. Spin. The people who really matter in this great contest, the players, are falling over themselves to endorse the alternative, Paul McGinley.

This could even turn out to be the first appointment decided on Twitter. World No 1 Rory McIlroy has been filing daily character references in favour of McGinley. Ian Poulter, the man who did so much to haul Europe back into the contest at Medinah, was an early advocate of the Irishman. Luke Donald added his voice yesterday. "I hope Paul McGinley gets his chance, he's been an amazing vice-captain and deserves an opportunity."

McIlroy took time at his Nike unveiling to extoll the virtues of McGinley. "I do strongly believe in captaincy being a one-hit deal. I feel everyone deserving should get their chance. I played under Paul at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and he did an unbelievable job. Under any captain I played he's been the best. He brought so much to the team room.

"I don't feel like Monty has anything to gain by this. Because if we go to Gleneagles and lose, he's already a winning Ryder Cup captain. I'm fully behind Paul and he should get the job. It's the small details. He doesn't leave any stone unturned. I just had a great experience playing under him. He's been a vice-captain in the two Ryder Cups I've played in and he's brought a lot to the table, a lot of ideas. He would make a really good captain."

Wow. If Monty comes back from a testimonial as grand as that delivered by the most significant voice on planet golf it will rival his team's recovery at Celtic Manor in 2010. It would appear that much of the background noise has been emanating from Sky, which employs Montgomerie as a pundit at major championships. While there is no harm in Sky trumpeting its property, it will not hold sway in the committee room, where 10 votes, good and true, will decide the matter tonight.

The tournament committee comprises 15 individuals. Three, Robert Karlsson, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Joakim Haeggman are absent and cannot vote. Montgomerie and McGinley are discounted, leaving chairman Thomas Björn and the remaining nine; Felipe Aguilar, Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, David Howell, Raphaël Jacquelin, Peter Lawrie, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson to deliberate.

Of course Montgomerie would accept the invitation should it come his way, but, with Darren Clarke beating a late retreat in order to concentrate on his game, McGinley remains the short-odds favourite.

"Obviously, it would be a dream come true if I could be seen to be captain at home in Scotland," Montgomerie said. "It would be a great honour. It seemed to be between Darren and Paul and now my name seems to be mentioned an awful lot, so we will see."

Montgomerie and Clarke contested the Volvo Champions last week in South Africa, where the two discussed the demands of the Ryder Cup and balancing that with playing commitments.

"I can fully understand where Darren is coming from, especially given the exemptions he still has into the majors. You want to use them when you can still play," Montgomerie said. "Because we're close friends he knows it took a year and a half out of my career. If you come back after a year and a half out you might not be able to use those exemptions to the same potential.

"I didn't think it would affect my golf the way it did. I've told him that. I was looking at leaderboards for other names and not my own. I was hoping that some were doing well as opposed to concentrating on my own game. And practice went out of the window. There's no time. It's a full-time commitment if you want to do it properly."

McGinley has neither the record nor the profile to match Montgomerie. What he does have is the goodwill of influential figures and a canny record in team competitions. As well as holing the winning putt at the Belfry 11 years ago, McGinley has never lost in the three Ryder Cups he contested as a player, or the two in which he stood as vice-captain. He has also successfully captained the Britain and Ireland team in the Seve Trophy.

There is another detail that commends him. When all others have been beating this drum or that, McGinley has kept his own counsel. Expect his discretion to be rewarded in Abu Dhabi tonight.

Monty reaction

Bernard Gallacher: "He has done the job already and did it well but there are others who should now get the chance"

Jose Maria Olazabal: "If I was him I wouldn't do it again, but Monty is his own man."

Paul Lawrie: "He's had his go, there are plenty of good people available to be captain."

Ian Woosnam: "In my opinion, it is a one-only deal."

Luke Donald: "I hope McGinley gets his chance, he's been an amazing vice-captain and deserves it."

Ian Poulter: "It would be fantastic to have Paul McGinley as the 2014 captain."

Who gets to vote?

Thomas Björn, Felipe Aguilar, Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, David Howell, Raphaël Jacquelin, Peter Lawrie, Francesco Molinari and Henrik Stenson.

Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015