ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer, two heroes of Europe’s triumphant Ryder Cup campaign at Medinah Country Club last year, have backed the choice of Paul McGinley as captain for the 2014 edition.
The Players Committee announced on Tuesday that Irishman McGinley would skipper the holders against the United States in Gleneagles, Scotland next year.
”I am very excited for Paul,“ world number five Rose told reporters on the eve of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Championship. ”I think that could well be a career-defining moment for him.
“It’s obviously a huge honor and one he’s clearly going to take incredibly seriously. He’ll do a fantastic job.”
McGinley was one of five captaincy candidates discussed by the committee, along with 2010 Ryder Cup skipper Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle.
Montgomerie had his share of support in the lead-up to Tuesday’s meeting in Abu Dhabi, with some players believing Europe had to counter the appointment of Tom Watson as U.S. skipper last month by picking a big-name opponent.
Rose, who sank a remarkable 35-foot putt on the penultimate hole of his last-day singles victory over Phil Mickelson in Illinois in September, disagreed with that view.
“Monty came into the picture to combat Tom Watson and I felt like that was something the European Tour did not need to do,” said the Englishman.
“I felt like we have a pretty good thing going right now in the Ryder Cup and there was no need to counter the U.S. decision. I had quite a lot of conversations with Paul at Medinah...and I believe he’ll make some very good decisions.”
Kaymer, who holed the putt that ensured Europe retained the trophy, also said he was impressed by the way McGinley carried out his vice-captaincy duties under Jose Maria Olazabal in Illinois.
”What I liked about him was that he really listened,“ the German said. ”There is nothing superficial about him and he gave me some very good feedback.
“I think he has done a lot for European golf. He deserves to be captain.”
Montgomerie was gracious in defeat and supported McGinley’s appointment.
Asked if there was any bitterness, the Scot said: ”Goodness no, nothing to do with that at all.
”He was voted upon by the committee who run this tour. As a man-manager he is very good and thorough. Preparation is what is required - he will do a very good job.
“I wasn’t in the picture until a week before Christmas when I heard of others who felt there was an opportunity for me to captain the team at home in Scotland which would have been a dream come true,” added Montgomerie.
“It hasn’t happened. I haven’t pressed this in any way so I was flattered in many ways to be in that position.”
World number two Tiger Woods, making a rare foray to the European Tour for this week’s event in Abu Dhabi, also congratulated McGinley on his appointment.
“He’s going to make a great European Ryder Cup captain as I’ve seen for myself how popular he is and how well he’s liked by everybody,” the American said.
“I can see Paul being a good rival to Tom and our American team will need to give him every respect.”
Woods’s Ryder Cup team mate Jason Dufner is also competing here this week and played a few holes with McGinley ahead of Tuesday’s committee meeting.
“His phone was going off a good bit and I didn’t know if it was good or bad news so we just kept on playing nine holes and I found out later in the evening that he was selected,” said Dufner.
“I don’t know Paul very well - that was the first time I actually played with him yesterday. We didn’t really have a conversation about the Ryder Cup, I didn’t want to pry too much.”
Editing by Justin Palmer