Tour chief hints at change in captaincy process

Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:54am EST
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By Tony Jimenez

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The European Tour may change the way future Ryder Cup captains are chosen after an often "unseemly" campaign ended this week with Paul McGinley being picked to lead the 2014 team, said chief executive George O'Grady.

McGinley's appointment on Tuesday as the first Irish skipper in the 86-year history of the event came at the end of a campaign during which golfing politics came to the fore.

Tour players came out in support of their own favorites in the newspapers and on social networking sites in the weeks leading up to the selection, causing a swirl of media debate about which of the candidates was most suited to the role.

"It was never meant to be a campaigning business," O'Grady told Reuters in an interview on the eve of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi Championship.

"That will probably have to be looked at in the cold light of day but the world has changed with all this twittering.

"I think personally one person should be invited to become captain and there should be no losers. There should be a view that this is the right guy at the right time because it can all be a little unseemly."

Ten members of the 15-man Players Committee, chaired by Dane Thomas Bjorn, debated the respective merits of McGinley, 2010 skipper Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle at a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday before plumping for the Irishman.

"In the end, with all the talk in the social media and the newspapers in the run-up, it was a triumph for democracy," added O'Grady.   Continued...

Paul McGinley of Ireland looks on near the Ryder Cup during a news conference after being named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. Regis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Job