Blow for Faldo as McGinley resigns

By Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley has given Nick Faldo his first captaincy kicking by announcing his shock resignation as a Ryder Cup vice-captain.

The Irish Ryder Cup hero has reacted wildly to being snubbed by GB&I skipper Faldo for a captain's pick for this week's Seve Trophy in Co Laois.

Publicly, the Dubliner says he wants to concentrate his efforts on qualifying for the 2008 side to take on the Americans at Valhalla in Kentucky.

Faldo with Vice-Captains Designate Paul McGinley and Jose Maria Olazabal

But privately, the three time Ryder Cup winner is hopping mad at being passed over by Faldo for a wildcard for the Seve Trophy in his native Ireland.

A close friend of McGinley's said: "Paul is really annoyed that he didn't get a wildcard. He was really expecting to get a pick with the Seve Trophy being played in Ireland.

"To say he was not a happy camper when the announcement was made last week would be an understatement. There are no Irishmen in the Seve Trophy and with his record in the event he feels that's wrong."

Speaking at the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort on the eve of he Seve Trophy, Faldo confessed that he could see McGinley's resignation coming.

Wringing his hands, Faldo said: "I asked him to come here this week but he said, 'I'm preparing to play' (in next week's Dunhill Links).

"From the start he was really concerned about the workload of being a vice-captain and he wants to play.

"I spoke to him about two weeks ago and asked him if he wanted to come to Valhalla with me (to check out the course) and he said: 'No, I'm playing.' So I think he felt disappointed about that.

"He would have loved to have been there and been involved in that capacity. I spoke to him last week and he said, I've got a lot of events coming up.

"I could sense the rumblings and then we spoke this morning and he decided to withdraw his position.

"I said all along, if he wants to play great. He's a hell of a Ryder Cup player. He's the man who holed the winning putt in the Ryder Cup and that's the sort of player I want on my team.

In a statement released by the European Tour, McGinley said: "It was a great honour to be picked by Nick, but on reflection and after careful consideration, I feel it is in my best interest to concentrate on playing myself into the team, which I said from the start was my first objective.

"I've played the last three matches and I want to play at Valhalla. I've been very fortunate, I've played three Ryder Cups, won all three, two by record margins, under three great captains and now I want to play for Nick and bring the Cup back to Europe again."

McGinley has a brilliant Seve Trophy record with a 75 percent success rate - winning seven and halving one of his ten matches.

But after falling to 183rd in the world this year and with regular partner Padraig Harrington withdrawing due to injury and fatigue, Faldo opted to Marc Warren and Simon Dyson as his wildcards.

Faldo named McGinley and Jose Maria OIazabal as his Ryder Cup vice captains "designate" at the BMW PGA last May.

But Olazabal has also announced that he wants to be a player rather than a backroom boy and Faldo joked that he could be left on his own at Valhalla.

Faldo said: "I'll end up playing as well the way we are going. I might have to start again. I might end up doing it all on my own. It's alright, I've got big enough shoulders."