x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Paul McGinley is the man to succeed Jose Maria Olazabal

Like Olazabal, McGinley thrived in team golf, winning the World Cup alongside Padraig Harrington in 1997 and playing in successful Ryder Cup campaigns from 2002 to 2006

Paul McGinley was vice-captain at the Ryder Cup this year.
Paul McGinley was vice-captain at the Ryder Cup this year.

Jose Maria Olazabal, sitting proudly behind the Ryder Cup when back on European soil this week, described his role as captain as "torture".

For the Spaniard, it was only ever going to be that way, irrespective of whether Europe cruised through the defence of their trophy at Medinah, or saved all their brilliance for the most implausible of Sundays to provide the greatest comeback in the competition's history.

Olazabal's unbridled passion for the dust-up with the United States had always guaranteed its ability to twist and torment even one of Europe's most stoic Ryder Cup combatants.

Now, having survived the ordeal, the question turns to which masochist fancies the job next?

Europe, as Olazabal highlighted, aren't exactly short on candidates. Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley, two of the 46 year old's vice-captains in Chicago, are favourites, while Thomas Bjorn, another of Ollie's trusted lieutenants, has proved a comfortable leader through his guise as head of the European Tour tournament committee.

Paul Lawrie has been suggested for consideration, too, as the Scot would no doubt thrive in the familiar surroundings of Gleneagles in two years' time but, at 43, he would prefer to contribute again in a playing capacity.

McGinley should get it. Like Olazabal, the Irishman thrived in team golf, winning the World Cup alongside Padraig Harrington in 1997 and playing in successful Ryder Cup campaigns from 2002 to 2006. As a rookie 10 years ago at the Belfry, he remained resolute to hole the winning putt, and has been a popular captain at the past two Seve Trophy tournaments.

Clarke, well-liked among American galleries, can wait until battle is renewed across the Atlantic at Hazeltine in 2016. The decision is expected to be announced in Abu Dhabi in a few months' time. Then let the "torture" begin.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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