Irish born Paul McGinley had a bright future ahead of him in Gaelic Footballer, until a broken knee cap ended his career at the age of 19. Paul turned to his other love, golf and the rest is history. Paul played in the 1991 Walker Cup helping Liam White beat Phil Mickelson and Bob May then gained his card on his first visit to Qualifying School later that year.
Paul achieved his place in golfing folklore by holing the winning putt on his Ryder Cup Debut in 2002. He also went on to represent European in 2004 and 2006, making him the first European Golfer to be a winner in every one of his three appearances. Once again Paul showed his skills at team golf when he led the Great Britain and Ireland team to victory in the 2009 and 2011 Vivendi Trophy with Seve Ballesteros, 2009 being in his first experience of captaincy.
He has always been passionate about the team format, a point that was recognised by Colin Montgomerie who named him as one of his Vice Captains for The Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort. Whether it is The Ryder Cup, Seve Trophy, World Cup or Royal Trophy, he has been on a winning team for all of them. Paul’s best year to came in 2005, during which he finished runner-up three times before concluding a wonderful year with a victory in the Volvo Masters at Valderrama. Paul also continues to help shape The European Tour as a member of the Tournament Committee.
The 46-year-old Dubliner, who becomes Ireland’s first captain in the event, succeeds Jose Maria Olazabal in the position and will go up against an American side that will have golfing great Tom Watson back in charge at the age of 65. McGinley holed the 10-foot winning putt on his debut at The Belfry in 2002 and was also part of the victorious sides in 2004 and 2006 before becoming an assistant to Colin Montgomerie three years ago and then Olazabal at Medinah – both wins as well.
Speaking to the media after his appointment, McGinley said: “I’m obviously very pleased to be in this situation. This is a position that I’m really thrilled to be in, and it’s also a very humbling experience. I can’t wait to get into the role of being the captain. “I’m relishing the thought of taking on one of my great heroes, Tom Watson. He’s not only a wonderful person but a great ambassador for the game of golf. “I’ve never had an opportunity to go up against him in a playing sense. To go up against him in a captaincy sense will be a real thrill for me. “It’s a week that I’m really looking forward to.