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EY Ryder cup - Ryder Cup brains trust

Ryder Cup brains trust

Posted: 24 September 2014

Paul McGinley has appointed five vice-captains to help him lead Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup campaign.

They are:

Padraig Harrington
Miguel Ángel Jiménez
José María Olazábal
Des Smyth
Sam Torrance

Earlier this year, Paul told EY about the important role played by the vice-captains: ↓ [... more]

The Ryder Cup captain has a real challenge. In most sports, managers or coaches can watch all the action in the arena in front of them. Their assistants are watching the same arena and, together, they can make decisions based on what they see. 

In a Ryder Cup, it is very different. On the first two days, there is action in four arenas at the same time. Four matches on four different holes. And the captain can only watch one at a time.  

To cover the action, a vice-captain needs to walk with each group, while the captain can roam the course.

I will have to rely pretty much solely on what the vice-captains who are following the games say about each player’s performance.

The information that the captain gets back from the vice-captains is very important in determining the players who will compete in the next session and who will be rested.

So it is a very challenging situation for the captain. This is why picking the right team of vice-captains around me is absolutely essential.

I need people who I know are going to have very qualified and validated reasoning behind all the information they are giving me.

And the vice-captains are important to the players too. They have to get on with the players.

I know from my own experience as a player that, when you are competing in the intensity of a Ryder Cup, it makes things a lot easier if you are well acquainted with the vice-captain who is following your game and if you have a lot of regard for him. 

McGinley on Padraig Harrington

"Padraig is my oldest friend on the Tour and is a guy I have known most of my life. We went to school together, came through the amateur ranks together and have been together in many contests for both Ireland and Europe over the years. As well as being a three-time major champion, Padraig is still very active on the Tour; in Europe, where all the players know him well, and also in the US, where he is familiar with the Tour and its players."

McGinley on Miguel Ángel Jiménez

"Miguel is someone who the spectators love and he’s very popular with all the players. He is a guy who I have a lot of faith in. I've listened to him and discussed many issues with him on the players’ committee. And he always acts with complete integrity. Miguel’s appointment also maintains the continuity I was looking for when I named him captain of the European team for the inaugural EurAsia Cup match in March. He did very well that week and all the players in that team enjoyed working with him. It will be the same at Gleneagles."

McGinley on José María Olazábal

"José María’s passion for The Ryder Cup is recognized the world over. It was obvious in his legendary partnership with Seve Ballesteros and was also very apparent two years ago at Medinah. So I’m delighted he has accepted my invitation to be involved again, maintaining that important continuity. Like Miguel, he brings a wonderful continental European flavor to the team room and is liked by everyone. He will also bring vital knowledge and experience of every element associated with The Ryder Cup, both on and off the course."

McGinley on Des Smyth

"Des took me under his wing when I was a rookie on Tour and he gave me tremendous advice, which was not only valuable then but has continued to ring true for me throughout my professional career. His views and ideas about The Ryder Cup have consistently proved to be spot on. I really enjoyed working with him as a vice-captain in 2006, when I was a player."

McGinley on Sam Torrance

"Sam probably had the most influence on me in terms of playing team golf in my career. As my first captain at The Ryder Cup in 2002, he taught me a huge amount and has continued to do so over the years. Sam’s man management skills made a great impression on me when I played under him in 2002. Since those early days, our relationship has grown to see us become firm friends."

↑ [... less]

Winning words

In 1979, players from the British Isles were joined by their continental counterparts to form Team Europe.

Since then, eight men have captained Europe to Ryder Cup victory.

Each has brought his own leadership qualities to the role, from Tony Jacklin’s instilling of belief to José María Olazábal’s never-say-die attitude.

Here, in their own words, are some thoughts on the captaincy and leadership.

  • EY Ryder cup - Tony JacklinTony Jacklin
    Winning captain at the Belfry, 1985 and Muirfield Village, 1987
    “To succeed, first you need to think you can succeed.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Bernard GallacherBernard Gallacher
    Winning captain at Oak Hill, 1995
    “You have to anticipate the unexpected.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Severiano BallesterosSeveriano Ballesteros:
    Winning captain at Valderrama, 1997
    “Competing for your team-mates, your country and your continent is unforgettable.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Sam TorranceSam Torrance
    Winning captain at the Belfry, 2002
    “Leave egos at the door. Each man is equal.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Bernhard LangerBernhard Langer
    Winning captain at Oakland Hills, 2004
    “Tiny details add up. They make a difference.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Ian WoosnamIan Woosnam
    Winning captain at the K Club, 2006
    “Make sure anybody can approach you for advice or to voice concerns.”
  • EY Ryder cup - Colin MontgomerieColin Montgomerie
    Winning captain at Celtic Manor, 2010
    “Everybody needs to feel that they are part of the team.”
  • EY Ryder cup - José María OlazábalJosé María Olazábal
    Winning captain at Medinah, 2012
    You cannot give in. You have to keep fighting to the end.”



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