GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Paul McGinley has paved the way for captains of the future with the special way he plotted Europe’s 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 victory in the 40th Ryder Cup, his players said on Sunday.
McGinley seemed one step ahead of United States counterpart Tom Watson all week at Gleneagles and his victorious team said he had been a true inspiration.
“I think Paul got a great template and a model for captains going forward,” veteran campaigner Lee Westwood told a news conference involving the skipper and all 12 of his players.
“You could base your future captain around the way Paul did it this week. He cherry-picked from captains he had played under and spoke to them...people like Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sam Torrance.”
Sergio Garcia, the subject of derogatory comments this week from 2008 skipper Nick Faldo who described the Spaniard as “useless” at Valhalla six years ago, then brought the house down with a pointed barb at the six-times major champion.
Turning to Westwood, he smiled and said: “Do you think he talked to Faldo...just a question?”.
Garcia’s team mate replied pithily: ”I don’t think we need to lower the tone in such a positive moment do we?
“I couldn’t criticize Paul’s captaincy at any point during the week,” said the 41-year-old Westwood. “I thought from start to finish he got it all right.”
Garcia, giving the issue a more serious appraisal, then backed up his colleague’s description of McGinley’s leadership skills.
”Paul was amazing,“ said the 34-year-old world number three. ”I was talking to Thomas Bjorn yesterday on the way back to the hotel and he was mentioning he strongly feels Paul is the new wave of captain, a lot more modern with every detail.
”He thought of everything this week. I’ve talked so much to Paul throughout this past four months and he obviously really wanted me on the team.
“It meant a lot. I think it helped me to motivate myself to play even better and make sure that I made the team. I couldn’t be prouder of being a part of his team,” added Garcia.
World number one Rory McIlroy echoed the views of his team mates after producing the performance of the last-day singles, cramming seven birdies and an eagle in 14 holes of golf to thrash Rickie Fowler 5 & 4.
”Paul was absolutely fantastic,“ said the 25-year-old Northern Irishman. ”Me and a few of the other guys played under him at the Seve Trophy in 2009 in Paris and I knew he was the right man to lead this team here.
”He has just been the most wonderful captain. From the first day we got here, the speeches he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together.
“He was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned and I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players here,” added McIlroy.
McGinley, who also holed the winning putt for Europe in the 2002 edition at The Belfry, said he thoroughly enjoyed his time as skipper but underlined that he would not be involved again, not even as an assistant captain.
“The Ryder Cup has been very good to me and I‘m quite happy now to be very much in the background,” he explained.
”I’ve got a role now in deciding who the next captain will be and we’ll see where that goes in the next few months on behalf of the European Tour.
“I’ve done my piece and I‘m happy to have had the honor but I don’t think a vice-captain’s role would be right for me to go into having stepped up to the captaincy,” said the 47-year-old McGinley.
Editing by Justin Palmer