February 18, 2015 / 3:58 PM / 4 years ago

Be your own man, McGinley tells new Europe captain Clarke

LONDON (Reuters) - Paul McGinley has urged his Ryder Cup successor Darren Clarke to ‘be your own man’ when he captains Europe at Hazeltine, Minnesota next year.

Europe Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley watches play during fourballs 40th Ryder Cup matches at Gleneagles in Scotland September 26, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

McGinley was hailed as an inspiration by his players after guiding Europe to victory over Tom Watson’s United States in Scotland in September.

The Irishman was also a member of the five-man selection panel that opted to hand Clarke the skipper’s role in next year’s biennial team event.

“The best advice I can give is to be yourself and do what you think is right,” the 48-year-old McGinley told Sky Sports television.

“It’s not about following me... or anybody else who has done the job before. It’s about doing what is best for him and doing it how he sees fit.”

It was a unanimous decision by the panel to give twice former vice-captain Clarke the top job instead of Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain or Dane Thomas Bjorn but McGinley acknowledged the Northern Irishman would be sailing in uncharted territory.

“Darren’s never been a captain before so it’s hard to know exactly what he’s going to be like,” said the 2014 skipper.

“I was lucky, I was captain of the Seve Trophy team twice. It’s a big learning curve for Darren but I’m sure he’ll enjoy every moment of these next two years and I think he’ll do a very good job and represent us well.”

McGinley said away matches in the event were even more special than home ones.

“It’s a good challenge to be playing away,” he said. “I played in three Ryder Cups and the one I enjoyed the most was probably in 2004,” he added of Oakland Hill, Michigan.

“I holed the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 and played in Ireland in 2006 but there’s something special about going away.

“When the crowd are 90 percent against you and you are able to hole a putt against that noise, that’s a challenge in its own right,” said McGinley.

“Darren’s going to be blessed in having a strong team just like I was. We have four of the top six players in the world rankings, the best in Rory McIlroy, we were favorites going to Gleneagles and could be favorites going to Hazeltine too.”

Editing by Ken Ferris

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