McGinley named 2014 European Ryder Cup captain

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Paul McGinley was named captain of the 2014 European Ryder Cup team by unanimous decision on Tuesday.

McGinley, a four-time European Tour winner, played in three straight Ryder Cups from 2002 through 2006, with the European team winning each of those events. In his inaugural Ryder Cup appearance, the Irishman famously holed the deciding putt at the Belfry in 2002.

"I'm absolutely thrilled and delighted to have this honor; to lead the European team, arguably the strongest in depth that we've had for the history of the European Tour," said McGinley, 46. "To be leading the cream of the crop in the Ryder Cup is going to be a huge honor."

The 2014 Ryder Cup matches are scheduled for Sept. 26-28, 2014 at Gleneagles in Scotland.

McGinley has twice acted as vice-captain at the Ryder Cup, including last year, when he helped captain Jose Maria Olazabal and the European team pull off the 'Miracle at Medinah' near Chicago. He held the same position under Colin Montgomerie for the victorious 2010 team in Wales.

Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul Lawrie were also considered for 2014 captainship, but McGinley's chances appeared to be bolstered by the recent vocal support of world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald.

"The guys that are going to be on the team want Paul to be the captain," McIlroy said prior to Tuesday's announcement.

McGinley captained McIlroy and the Great Britain and Ireland team to a victory over Continental Europe in the 2009 Vivendi Seve Trophy and did so again without McIlroy in 2011.

"I felt that I had really good apprenticeships in the two Seve Trophies and this is a position that I'm really thrilled to be in," said McGinley. "It's also a very humbling experience as well, but it's also a situation that I'm relishing and I can't wait to get into the role of being the captain; working with the players -- particularly the players that have showed such huge support for me in the last few weeks."

In 2002, McGinley turned in his most memorable Ryder Cup moment when he drained a par putt on the 18th hole in his match against Jim Furyk to secure a 15 1/2 to 12 1/2 victory for the European team.

McGinley followed that moment by going undefeated in three matches in Detroit two years later en route to a record-breaking 18 1/2 - 9 1/2 European victory at Oakland Hills.

"If you look at my career it's quite modest compared to the ex-captains that we've had in Ryder Cup positions ... but what I did do in my career is I always performed extremely highly when I played as part of a team," acknowledged McGinley. "I don't know why. I wish I could have done the same as an individual, but I certainly went to another level when I played in team golf."

In 2014, McGinley will look to continue the European team's recent stretch of dominance, which has seen them win seven of the last nine biennial showdowns. They haven't lost on European soil since 1993, when Tom Watson guided the U.S. team to a 15 to 13 victory at the Belfry.

Watson, of course, was named the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup captain in December.

"I'm relishing the part of taking on one of my great heroes in Tom Watson," continued McGinley. "Not only is he a wonderful person, he is a great ambassador for the game of golf and has been for a long, long time. I never had the opportunity going up against him in a playing sense, but to have an opportunity going up against him in a captain sense is going to be a real thrill for me."