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McGinley confirmed as European Ryder Cup captain

Paul McGinley

Paul McGinley will lead Europe at Gleneagles in the 2014 Ryder Cup, after the popular Irishman was named team captain on Tuesday night.

McGinley’s fate was determined at a committee meeting in Abu Dhabi, where this week’s European Tour event is being held.

And with Darren Clarke officially removing himself from selection, the panel was said to be leaning towards Colin Montgomerie, who successfully captained Europe at Celtic Manor in 2010.

The Scot himself had made it clear in the last few days that he would relish taking the reins once again, but Monty’s bid for a second stab at the captaincy seemed unpopular with the players, with Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter all stating their preference for McGinley.

And any potential division in the traditionally strong European team spirit has been nipped in the bud by the decision to name McGinley in the captain’s role.

After a nearly three hour meeting, the committee made the unanimous decision in favour of the 46-year-old who has served as assistant captain the past two Ryder Cups. McGinley then faced reporters for the first time in his role as the man who succeeds José María Olazábal, the Spaniard who led Europe to one of the most remarkable comebacks in Ryder Cup history last year.

"To lead the cream of the crop in the Ryder Cup is going to be a huge honour," said three-time Ryder Cup participant McGinley. "To be quite honest it is a very humbling experience to be sitting in this seat. It is a week I'm looking forward to. It's a whole new experience for me, the chance to be a captain."

McIlroy was quick to state his approval for the choice, tweeting: “Common sense prevailed in the end. Paul McGinley 2014 European Ryder Cup captain!!! Couldn't be happier for him. Roll on Gleneagles."

And at a separate press conference later in the evening, the world No. 1 continued to sing his new captain’s praises, telling the media that McGinley was: “probably the best captain I've ever played under."

The Ulsterman worked with McGinley at the Seve Trophyin 2009, and the experience was clearly a good one. "He makes you feel so good about yourself," McIlroy said. "He put me at No. 1. He's like `I want you lead out the team'. He builds you up and makes you feel confident. He is very good at that."

Last month, the US team selected nine-time major winner Tom Watson to captain the US side at Gleneagles. Watson congratulated McGinley on his appointment last night, saying: “[I] anticipate that his passion and love of the event will transfer to being an outstanding leader of his team in 2014 at Gleneagles.

"Paul is an outstanding representative of European golf. I look forward to sharing the stage with him as we make our journey to Scotland."

Meanwhile, Montgomerie insisted he was happy with the outcome, telling reporters: "I was very flattered even to be considered again - it meant a lot to me. The selection process was such that they appointed the best man for the job.

"We all get behind Paul now and wish him well. I appointed him for the Seve Trophy and he did a very good job - as he did twice as a vice-captain [in the Ryder Cup].

"He's a very good man-manager and very good at assessing people's strengths. I will be there to support and fly the flag for Europe."

Steve Colton

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