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By Andrew Gaddess, Golf Editor - Archive - Email
Europeans do it right
What Paul McGinley lacked in credentials, he made up for in overwhelming player support.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After much deliberation and speculation, Paul McGinley was named captain of the 2014 European Ryder Cup team by unanimous decision on Tuesday.

McGinley certainly won't be the most decorated golfer to run the European show -- the 46-year-old Irishman has only four European Tour victories to his name and no major championships -- but he just may be the most well-received.

The tournament committee could have gone with a more decorated name. Colin Montgomerie, a 31-time European Tour winner and the victorious 2010 Ryder Cup captain, was in the running.

But what McGinley lacked in credentials, he made up for in overwhelming player support.

Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald all lined up in McGinley's corner, with the world No. 1 McIlroy saying, "The guys that are going to be on the team want Paul to be the captain."

And the committee listened, largely because it is comprised of current European Tour players. In fact, both McGinley and Montgomerie are members of the committee. Those two weren't in the room when the decision was made, of course, but the remaining members listened to the general sentiment of their peers and made the logical choice.

The decision wasn't a simple one, but it was sensible, and widely heralded.

Now compare that with the U.S. captain selection process, in which the PGA of America's principals choose their man through a largely autonomous and secretive operation.

In December, that process yielded Tom Watson as the 2014 captain, and the choice wasn't without controversy.

Typically, U.S. captainship goes to a 40-ish former major winner who is still active on the PGA Tour. Watson, on the other hand, will be 65 when the Americans head to Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014, making him the oldest U.S. captain ever -- by eight years.

But it wasn't just Watson's age that raised eyebrows, it was also his dubious relationship with Tiger Woods.

Watson, of course, publicly criticized Woods' on-course etiquette some years back and many wondered how the 14-time major winner would feel about taking marching orders from such a vocal critic.

Woods has since given Watson his public stamp of approval, but the situation seems a far cry from the harmony which appears to exist between McGinley and his team on the other side of the pond.

The PGA of America figured it needed a change when it chose Watson; seven losses in nine Ryder Cups will do that to any selection committee. But maybe it is the selection process itself that needs a change.

So why not take a page out of the European team's playbook? They sure seem to be doing something right.


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