Paul McGinley on Tuesday night thanked Rory McIlroy for the part he played in him becoming Europe’s new Ryder Cup captain, and said: “If Rory does not make the team I think he has got a good chance of a pick now!”
McGinley got the nod at Tuesday’s European Tour tournament committee meeting in Abu Dhabi, the Dubliner seeing off four other candidates - Scottish trio Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle, and Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez - to land the coveted position.
McGinley, a match-winning hero of Europe’s 2002 win and an assistant in the last two victories, was the unanimous choice of the committee on which he also sits, and is relishing the opportunity to pit his wits against United States skipper Tom Watson next year. and McIlroy thinks he is the right man for the job.
“I have a very strong opinion about this. I really think Paul deserves it.
“He has been a great player and a great personality for the European Tour over the years. I also played under him at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and I thought he did a great job.
“From all the captains I’ve played under, I think he was the best.”
Since Europe’s famous win on American soil in September, McGinley has maintained a dignified silence while the issue of who should succeed Jose Maria Olazabal was furiously debated.
“I watched with interest,” said McGinley. “Like a yo-yo my chances seemed to go up and down.
“I felt the more I said the more my chances would lessen. I was very tempted to speak up, but my wife and friends told me to stay with dignity, don’t get involved and it will work in the long term. I believed it too.”
Darren Clarke had been viewed as McGinley’s main rival, but he decided to stand aside because he wants to concentrate on his playing career.
He is now the favourite to take charge of the European team in America in 2016.