Rory McIlroy played a massive role in Paul McGinley’s appointment as European Ryder Cup captain for 2014. Now it appears that McGinley is ready to do his bit for McIlroy and compatriot Graeme McDowell over the thorny question of national allegiance and who they might represent in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
Doing the rounds of the UK papers following his election to the role last month, McGinley told the Daily Mail’s Derek Lawrenson that he agrees with McDowell’s call for the IOC or some other body to take the decision out of the hands of the players and take some of the edge off what is already a highly emotional issue.
“All I can say is that unless something is done I really don’t think Rory will play in the Olympics, which would be a huge shame not only for the sport but the Olympics themselves,” said McGinley. “I’m one of those people who doesn’t think sport and politics mix and we can all see that Rory has a real problem here. I agree with G-Mac (Graeme McDowell) who said that someone from the International Olympic Committee or a similar body should come forward and make the decision for him. As things stand, Rory is being asked to offend someone and that’s not right, he’s not that sort of guy. He shouldn’t be placed in that situation.”
If McGiney says that McIlroy is seriously thinking of giving the Olympics a miss, we should take it seriously given the close relationship they have developed in recent years.
McIlroy said that it was a viable option in a BBC documentary at Christmas and given his status as Ryder Cup skipper, McGinley’s support for an administrative solution - though unlikely right now - could bear some fruit.
The Dubliner also gave a few more details to the UK press on his plans to tweak the Ryder Cup qualifying process, though it is apparent that his loyalty to the Tour will prevent him from going from two wildcards to four.
His big fear, as he told the Daily Telegraph’s Jamie Corrigan, is that his enthusiasm for the job will result in him over-doing it:
It is a danger that I’ll over-captain. As much my exuberance and excitement is great I have to be careful not to over-communicate with the guys, not to bombard them with my thoughts. It’s hard, though as I’m bursting with ideas. I don’t want to always be in the media with ‘McGinley plans this, McGinley plans that’ We’ve got a template; we’ve won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups. If it ain’t broke, it doesn’t need completely overhauling.”
He also makes it plain that just because a player has had a stellar career (ie Faldo), that doesn’t mean he will be an outstanding captain. As he told the Telegraph:
“What I felt like screaming was show me the correlation between great players and great captains. Go on, where’s the historical evidence — the argument doesn’t hold up. Now I’m not saying Tom Watson won’t be a great captain. But I am saying that ‘great player equals great captain’ is not a given.”
Sound likes it could be a long 18 months for McGinley, even if he tries hard to keep a low profile.