Captain McGinley blown away by whirlwind reaction

Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:58pm EST
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By Tony Jimenez

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Paul McGinley sported a grin as wide as the 18th green at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on Friday as he explained how he had been blown away by the reaction to his appointment as Europe's 2014 Ryder Cup captain.

The 46-year-old Irishman was almost certain to miss the halfway cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship after carding a one-over-par 73 for a five-over tally of 149.

While McGinley was disappointed by his inability to make a mark on this week's European Tour event, he took great comfort from the hordes of well-wishers keen to slap him on the back as he made his way to the clubhouse at the end of the second round.

"It's been a whirlwind for the last 48 hours," the genial Dubliner told Reuters in an interview as he wiped the sweat from his brow after another steamy day in the desert.

"It's all sunk in now. You can't help but think about the Ryder Cup because everyone's coming up to you wherever you turn - tour staff, fans, players, officials, caddies," said McGinley.

"It's all been completely overwhelming. I had no idea the reception would be so genuinely enthused for me and it's a really nice feeling to know your peers are so happy for you to have success."

McGinley, who took a sideways glance at the clubhouse clock as he was expecting a phone call from Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, said he had received hundreds of congratulatory text messages since his appointment on Tuesday.

"I've had nearly 500 texts and I haven't yet managed to sift my way through them all," he added. "I've had so many things to do so I don't know who most of them are from."   Continued...

Paul McGinley of Ireland smiles 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. McGinley was the unanimous choice of the Players Committee at a meeting in Abu Dhabi and becomes Ireland's first skipper in the history of the event launched in 1927. REUTERS/Ben Job