McGinley expects European Captain to be in place by the Masters

John Craven
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McGinley expects European Captain to be in place by the Masters

Paul McGinley (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

2014 winning Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley believes Europe will have a decision made by next month’s Masters as to who will lead the boys in blue into battle against Team USA in Rome 2023.

Following news of Zach Johnson’s announcement as USA team Captain, there’s still no white smoke visible from the European camp as speculation continues around the fate of next year’s Captaincy.

Luke Donald is the bookies’ favourite to replace Padraig Harrington after a damaging defeat at Whistling Straits but with ongoing Saudi League speculation hanging over a number of other potential suitors, the trigger has yet to be pulled on any official announcement.

Although McGinley says he’s not part of the decision-making process this year, the Dubliner is hopeful that someone will be named prior to Augusta National’s April showpiece.

“I would say by the Masters we will have a decision made from what I hear from the European Tour,” McGinley said following news that his Golf’s Greatest Holes series has been picked up by NBC GolfPass.

“I’m not involved in the process in terms of picking the new captain but by the time the Masters comes around we should have someone in place.”

McGinley’s reign as European skipper was a celebrated one having masterminded a trashing of the United States, 16½-11½ at Gleneagles in 2014. McGinley’s captaincy was heralded as meticulous, a blueprint for future captains to follow. It was his eye for detail that became something to behold; McGinley going as far as to carpet the team hotel in blue and gold in a bid to extract every bit of team unity he could.

In a normal year, a Captain would’ve been announced weeks ago, allowing ample time for the preparation that proved so key to McGinley’s reign. And although the players won’t be concerned about a vacant seat this far out from the tournament, I asked McGinley if an incoming Captain’s perspective would be different given the time that’s at stake.

“From experience, there’s not a huge amount that the Captain has to do except PR at this time of the process, some 18 months away from the Ryder Cup,” McGinley said.

“There’s some planning and stuff that you’d like to do early and get it done and dusted but there’s not a major rush. Obviously the conjecture going on with the Saudi Golf League has slowed down the process more than what we would normally have.

“There’s been a lot of feedback from a lot of people about what happened at Whistling Straits as well. I know they’re looking at a lot of that and we’ve got to come up with some sort of a new plan after the heavy defeat we had in Wisconsin.”

Europe will be looking to avenge a crushing 19-9 defeat when the 2023 Ryder Cup tees off at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club from September 29 – October 1 next year.

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