Scotland welcomes captain McGinley

2013 08 Mcginley Main

Paul right: The 2002 Ryder Cup match-winner Paul McGinley will captain Europe at Gleneagles next year

First Minister leads the congratulations for 2014 Ryder Cup skipper

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has led the swathe of congratulations for Paul McGinley after the Irishman was named the European team captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

McGinley was voted in as captain of the team following a meeting of the Players' Tournament Committee in Abu Dhabi and he will now be charged with the task of defending the trophy won in such dramatic circumstances at Medinah last September.

"I'm sure the whole of Scotland will join me in welcoming Paul McGinley and congratulating him on his appointment as captain of the European team for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles," said Salmond.

"Paul is a model professional and has always been held in extremely high regard by the Scottish golfing public and he can be sure the whole country will be behind him and his team come September 2014.

"Of course, he already has a place in Ryder Cup history thanks to his winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 and we are all hoping he adds another incredible chapter to that history when the Ryder Cup visits the Home of Golf in less than two years time."

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, added: "I'm sure Paul will prove to be a very popular captain with players and fans alike and we are looking forward to welcoming him to Scotland on his no doubt numerous visits between now and September 2014.

"There is no doubt that 2014 is a massive year for golf in Scotland as we prepare to welcome the world and if Paul and his team can pull off a Ryder Cup victory in the Home of Golf it will be all the sweeter. He can certainly rely on the backing of Scotland."

McGinley, a veteran of three Ryder Cup matches as a player and a further two as a vice-captain, was appointed after weeks of speculation.

"I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have this honour to lead the European team, arguably the strongest in-depth that we've had for the history of the European Tour," said the 46-year-old, who becomes the first Irishman to captain a Ryder Cup team

"It's a very, very humbling experience to be sitting in this seat and it's a week that I'm really, really looking forward to and it will be a whole new experience for me in terms of being a captain. I've been there many times as a player, and also as a vice-captain, and so I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."

Thomas Bjorn, the chairman of the Players' Tournament Committee, revealed that McGinley had been the unanimous choice for the job and that he had earned it at the expense of four other worthy candidates.

"There were five names that were discussed in that room: Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie, Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Paul Lawrie, and obviously Paul," revealed Bjorn.

"It was our job to discuss everybody that's been thrown around, and we discussed them all thoroughly. But this committee is 100% behind this captain and that was really obvious very early in the meeting that this is the route that the committee wanted to go.

"I think we made the right decision. Our players on tour wanted us to make this decision and that's who we represent so we listened to them."

McGinley said that the opportunity to lead the European team in the Home of Golf was something that he was relishing.

"I'm thrilled," he said. "To do it in Scotland against Tom Watson, 'relish' is the word that comes to mind and that's what it will be.  I can assure all of the people in Scotland, too, that I'll have very much a Scottish theme to what I'm going to do that week."

The 40th Ryder Cup will take places at Gleneagles from September 26-28, 2014. Stay tuned to for all the news in the build-up to the match.

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