Paul McGinley Ireland's First Ryder Cup Captain. Paul named his 3-wild cards for Gleneagles from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th September they are Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood
Paul McGinley became Irelands first Captain of the European Ryder Cup Team for 2014 at Gleneagles.
On Tuesday 2nd September Paul McGinley announced his team to take on the USA at Gleneagles later in the month, it comprised of his nine automatic selections and the three wild-cards.
They are Rory McIlroy Ranked No. 1 at the time of selection, Henrik Stenson, No. 3, Sergio Garcia No. 4, Justin Rose No. 5, Martin Kaymer No. 8, Graeme McDowell No. No. 16, Victor Dubuisson No. 21, Thomas Bjorn No. 26, Jamie Donaldson No. 28, the wild-cards are Stephen Gallacher No. 33, Ian Poulter No. 36 and Lee Westwood 38, he omitted Luke Donald who was Ranked No. 30 giving priority to players in form as was the case of Gallacher and experience as with Poulter and Westwood who have impeccable records in the Ryder Cup matches.
Paul has made his final selections as Vice-Captains, they are Des Smyth, Padraig Harrington, Sam Torrance, Miguel Jiménez and José María Olazábal
American Captain Tom Watson announces his team g day they are Jim Furyk Ranked No. 7 at the time of selection, Matt Kuchar No. 8, Bubba Watson No. 9, Phil Mickelson No. 10 Rickie Fowler No. 11, Jordan Spieth No. 14, Zach Johnson No. 15, Jimmy Walker No. 19, Patrick Reed No. 27, his wild-cards are, Hunter Mahan No. 20, Keegan Bradley No. 23, and Webb Simpson No. 32,
Paul grew up in the village of Rathfarnham in South County Dublin as did Padraig Harrington, ironically they both went to the same school Colaiste Eanna, they both played for the local GAA Club Ballybodan St. Enda’s, both their fathers played Senior Football for their Counties, Paddy Harrington for Cork and Mick McGinley for Donegal, they won the World Cup in Golf together in Kiawah Island in 1997, they played three Ryder Cups together, Padraig has won three Majors to date and Paul will Captain The Ryder Cup Team at Gleneagles on 26th to 28th September 2014. Not bad for a small Village in South County Dublin.
Indeed Paul’s boyhood dream was to play Senior Football for Dublin but after he broke his kneecap he turned his attention to golf and very quickly became a promising Amateur Golfer, being a member of the Grange Golf Club team that won the All-Ireland Club Youths Team Championship in 1986 and 1987. He won the Irish Amateur Close Championship in 1989 at Co. Sligo Golf Club followed by the South of Ireland at Lahinch in 1991 the same year he was on the Walker Cup team at Portmarnock Golf Club before turning professional later that year.
He received a degree in Marketing at the Dublin Institute of Technology and worked for the European Union in Brussels he then went to San Diego University and got a degree in international business, before deciding to join the professional ranks.
Paul has recorded four wins on the European Tour the first being in the Hohe Bucke Open in 1966, followed by Oki Pro-Am in 1997, his next victory was at the Celtic Manor Resort Wales Open which he won in a Play-Off on the 5th Hole in 2001, his last win on the Tour was in the Volvo Masters when he beat Sergio in 2005.
He has had 3-victories on the Irish Tour with wins in the Irish PGA Championship at Co. Louth in 2000; and twice in the Smurfit Irish PGA Championship in 2002 and 2003 at Westport and Adare Golf Resort respectively.
Paul has been described as “The most experienced rookie captain that’s ever been” and indeed it is hard to dispute it having been twice Vice-Captain in the Ryder Cup and Captain of the Seve Trophy on two occasions, but his selection didn’t come automatically. Before the decision was made at Abu Dhabi on 15th January of last year, Darren Clarke had aspirations of Captaining the European Team but quickly withdrew his hat out of the ring. Colin Montgomerie who was winning Captain at Celtic Manor in 2010 began to subtly make his case to Captain the team in his native country; making a case that Europe needed a strong Captain to counteract the legendry Tom Watson, Paul kept his own council and was given support from some of the European Tours leading players Rory McIlroy then No. 1 in the world rankings, Justin Rose Ian Poulter and Luke Donald where the most vocal. Rory made the following statement “It will be a very disappointing day for the European Tour if Paul McGinley doesn’t get it. I’m afraid politics is getting in the way of making the right choice. Monty has done it already. He’s been a winning captain. I don’t think he has to go back and do it again.”
Paul made his announcement of his first two Vice-Captains from the Taoiseach’s office in Government buildings when he named Des Smyth and Sam Torrance as part of his team.
Although Paul has spent most of his professional life living in Sunningdale with his wife Alison and three children, Paul has never forgotten his Irish roots after winning The World Cup he and Padraig went back to there old school with the trophy, he is a regular spectator Croke Park when the “Dubs” play and must be very pleased with the way they are playing these days, he is also a frequent visitor to his old club Grange.
When asked what his most memorable moment of his three Ryder Cup appearances he always refers to the Saturday afternoon at Oakland Hills when he and Padraig beat Tiger Woods and Davis Love III 4 and 3 he says “The Irish supporters wouldn’t let us go. We were at least an hour there, the crowd singing “You’ll never beat the Irish”. It really was a special moment.”
The people of Rathfarnham of which I am one are especially proud of their Golfing tradition and Paul’s selection as Ireland’s First Ryder Cup Captain must rank at the pinnacle of the achievements.
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