Rory McIlroy swings it for Paul McGinley to win Ryder Cup captaincy race

46-year-old becomes first Irishman to lead European team and thanks world No 1 for his words of support

Paul McGinley paid tribute to Rory McIlroy for the role the world no.1 played in helping him become Ireland’s first Ryder Cup captain at Gleneagles in 2014. McIlroy was the most prominent voice in a social media campaign that was also joined by fellow Medinah heroes Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell.

“To have the support of someone like Rory and all the other players made my hand very strong,” McGinley said. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be leading this team. It is a huge honour and a humbling experience to be sitting here.

“There's a couple of good things happened for me in terms of getting this role, and one of them was the fact that Rory and Graeme McDowell played in the first Seve Trophy, which was my first captaincy as well then, too. Rory was not the star then that he is now. I think it might have been his second year on Tour, maybe his third.

“I knew it was a very weakened team compared to how strong the Europeans were if you compared it to world rankings.  Rory and Graeme were huge for me that week. So I think I was fortunate that I had that situation where Rory had played underneath me and that's why I think he spoke with such authority on the subject.”

McGinley was one of five candidates considered, including Colin Montgomery, Sandy Lyle, Paul Lawrie and Miguel Angel Jimenez. He accepted that he did not have the playing record of recent captains, but offered an X-factor that flowered in team competition. “I don’t know what it is,” he said. “The heart beats a bit faster, the adrenalin flows harder and I just seem to come alive in that environment.

McIlroy was among the first to offer his congratulations. “I’m thrilled with the decision. As you know I made my feelings known on the captaincy. He was not only my choice but the choice for most of the players on the Ryder Cup team. I think he will do a brilliant job at Gleneagles.”

American captain, Tom Watson, offered his congratualtions via twitter. “Congrats to Paul McGinley on your R/C Captaincy. Looking forward to our future competition. You're a class act.” In a fuller response, Watson added: “I anticipate that his passion and love of the event will transfer to being an outstanding leader of his team in 2014 at Gleneagles.”

The feeling was mutual. McGinley said: ““I'm relishing the thought of taking on one of my great heroes, Tom Watson. He's not only a wonderful person abut a great ambassador for the game of golf. I've never had an opportunity to go up against him in a playing sense. To go up against him in a captaincy sense will be a real thrill for me.”

McGinley said he was tempted many times to respond to the comments in a race that became increasingly tense with first Darren Clarke and then Montgomerie gathering momentum. “Its amazing what you can learn when you listen and don’t talk.”

It took the tournament committee, chaired by Thomas Bjorn, an hour to reach their decision. Committee member McGinley was asked to leave the room and repaired his hotel suite from where he called his brother and a third Irishman, European tour pro Shane Lowry to help him kill time. “I had a couple of oatmeal cookies and a bottle of water and watched the time go by, very slowly I have to say.  I was looking at the clock very closely how long it was taking.  And obviously delighted when the news came through.”

McGinley factfile

Born 16 December, 1966, Dublin

Turned pro 1991 - Pro wins 9

Career earnings £10m

First major 1992 Open, missed cut

Best major 2004 US PGA, tied 6th

Ryder Cup debut 2002, The Belfry

Ryder Cup record Played in three Cup wins – 2002, 2004 and 2006 [nine matches, won 4½ points]

Played Gaelic football until breaking a kneecap at the age of 18, forcing him to take up golf full-time.

Holed winning putt at the 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry as Europe triumphed 15½ to 12½.

Named vice-captain for the 2010 and 2012 Cups, under Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal respectively.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links