• Ryder Cup

McGinley can't wait for Watson test

ESPN staff
January 15, 2013
Paul McGinley has thanked Rory McIlroy for his support © AP

Paul McGinley says he is relishing the chance to test himself against eight-time major champion Tom Watson at the 2014 Ryder Cup.

McGinley was named on Tuesday as the man to lead Europe at Gleneagles, where he will go head-to-head with USA captain Watson, who was at the helm the last time the Americans won the trophy on European soil, back in 1993.

"I am relishing the thought of taking on one of my great heroes, Tom Watson," McGinley told reporters in Abu Dhabi. "Not only is he a wonderful person, he's a great ambassador for the game of golf and has been for a long time.

"I never had the opportunity going up against him in a playing sense, but to have an opportunity going up against him in a captaincy sense is going to be a real thrill for me."

McGinley's appointment came after world No. 1 Rory McIlroy vocalised his support for the Irishman, describing him as "the best captain I have ever played under", while a host of other players, including Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter had offered their partiality for McGinley on Twitter.

McGinley refused to speculate what made him popular amongst the players, but expressed his gratitude to McIlroy for his support, claiming his bond with the player stemmed back to the 2009 Vivendi Trophy.

"Rory and Graeme McDowell played in the first Vivendi Trophy which was my first captaincy as well. Rory was not the star then that he is now; I think it might have been his second or third year on tour. I had the opportunity of captaining him then - it was a very weakened team compared to how strong the Europeans were if you compared world rankings.

"We played the role of underdog there extremely well and Rory and Graeme were huge for me that week and I really enjoyed playing with them and I think they enjoyed it as well. I think I was fortunate that I had that situation where Rory had played underneath me. I think he spoke with such authority on the subject."

He added: "It's a very humbling experience but it's also a situation I am relishing to get into the role of being the captain, working with the players, particularly the players that have shown such huge support for me in the last few weeks."

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