Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After much deliberation and speculation,
Paul McGinley was named captain of the 2014 European Ryder Cup team by
unanimous decision on Tuesday.
McGinley certainly won't be the most decorated golfer to run the European
show -- the 46-year-old Irishman has only four European Tour victories to his
name and no major championships -- but he just may be the most well-received.
The tournament committee could have gone with a more decorated name. Colin
Montgomerie, a 31-time European Tour winner and the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup
captain, was in the running.
But what McGinley lacked in credentials, he made up for in overwhelming player
Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald all lined up in McGinley's corner,
with the world No. 1 McIlroy saying, "The guys that are going to be on the
team want Paul to be the captain."
And the committee listened, largely because it is comprised of current
European Tour players. In fact, both McGinley and Montgomerie are members of
the committee. Those two weren't in the room when the decision was made, of
course, but the remaining members listened to the general sentiment of their
peers and made the logical choice.
The decision wasn't a simple one, but it was sensible, and widely heralded.
Now compare that with the U.S. captain selection process, in which the PGA of
America's principals choose their man through a largely autonomous and
In December, that process yielded Tom Watson as the 2014 captain, and the
choice wasn't without controversy.
Typically, U.S. captainship goes to a 40-ish former major winner who is still
active on the PGA Tour. Watson, on the other hand, will be 65 when the
Americans head to Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014, making him the oldest U.S.
captain ever -- by eight years.
But it wasn't just Watson's age that raised eyebrows, it was also his dubious
relationship with Tiger Woods.
Watson, of course, publicly criticized Woods' on-course etiquette some years
back and many wondered how the 14-time major winner would feel about taking
marching orders from such a vocal critic.
Woods has since given Watson his public stamp of approval, but the situation
seems a far cry from the harmony which appears to exist between McGinley and
his team on the other side of the pond.
The PGA of America figured it needed a change when it chose Watson; seven
losses in nine Ryder Cups will do that to any selection committee. But maybe
it is the selection process itself that needs a change.
So why not take a page out of the European team's playbook? They sure seem to
be doing something right.
The Sports Network