ABU DHABI, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Ireland’s Paul McGinley has been appointed captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team for the biennial match against the United States next year, the Players’ Committee said on Tuesday.
The 46-year-old, who holed the winning putt in the 2002 match at The Belfry, edged former skipper Colin Montgomerie in a vote taken by the 15-man committee in Abu Dhabi.
McGinley replaces Spain’s Jose Maria Olazabal, the inspiration behind Europe’s remarkable comeback victory in Illinois in September.
The Irishman has twice been a vice-captain, to Montgomerie in Wales in 2010 and to Olazabal two years later.
McGinley served his apprenticeship as a skipper when he led Britain and Ireland to victory over Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy team event in 2009 and 2011.
He played in three Ryder Cups, from 2002-06, and was triumphant each time.
A winner of four European Tour titles, McGinley’s best campaign was in 2005 when he finished runner-up three times before lifting the season-ending Volvo Masters crown.
In recent times Europe have taken the view that the Ryder Cup captain should serve for one match only, an approach that was always likely to give him an advantage over Montgomerie.
McGinley, the first Irish captain, will be up against eight-times major winner Tom Watson who skippers the U.S. at Gleneagles, Scotland in 2014.
Editing by Ed Osmond