Respect. That's what Paul McGinley earned from his peers for his impressive Vivendi Trophy captaincy in Paris last weekend. 

"In all of the success I've had in previous things I've done, it's amazing how many people have said nice things this week," he said at the Alfred Dunhill Link, where he is just three shots behind Rory McIlroy, Michael Hoey and Richie Ramsay at halfway. "The coverage must have been incredible. The whole world seems to have been watching it." 

Next year, Colin Montgomerie will become the 22nd man to captain a Ryder Cup side from this side of the pond. That will make it 38 editions of the great event. Eight players have been captain on more than one occasion, yet an Irishman has yet to get the top job.

England has had the captaincy 19 times, Scotland nine and Wales seven with Germany's Bernhard Langer, Spain's Seve Ballesteros and Jersey's Ted Ray getting one go each. 

Will that change at Gleneagles in 2014? McGinley would appear to be a racing certainty for the post following his inspired performance in leading GB&I to a record-equalling win over Continental Europe last weekend.

It certainly seems strange that an Irishman has never been chosen to do the job with Christy O'Connor Snr the most obvious candidate following his 10 successive appearances from 1955 to 1973.

McGinley will become the man to wipe that somewhat embarrassing statistic from the record books. And he will get to do it with a side that looks like it could be one of the most exciting European outfits ever with Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Chris Wood, Ross Fisher, Alvaro Quiros, Martin Kaymer and Nick Dougherty just a few of the players who can hope to tee it up.

McIlroy will be the star player in that line up if we are to judge by his progression over the past two years. On Friday he raced into a share of the halfway lead in Scotland when he finished birdie-birdie for a 65 on the Old Course at St Andrews to top the leaderboard on 11 under par with Belfast man Hoey and Scot Ramsay, two of golf's more tortured souls.

Amazingly, the trio hold five Irish amateur titles between them. McIlroy won the Irish Close (2005-2006) with Hoey (1998) and Ramsay (2005) past winners of the Irish Amateur Open.

Amazingly, it is now 20 years since McGinley beat Niall Goulding to win the 1998 Irish Close title at Rosses Point and while he has only managed to notch four European Tour victories in a long career, he has never tasted defeat in eight professional team competitions (excluding the World Cup and the Dunhill Cup).

The Dubliner was on the winning Ryder Cup team three times (2002-04-06) but has also won the Royal Trophy twice (2006-2007) and the Seve Trophy three times (2002-2005-2009).

His captaincy skills left a lasting impression, not just on his Britain and Ireland team, but on the European Tour in general. 

He said after his Paris triumph that he was inspired by his players to try and make the 2010 Ryder Cup team on merit and he has made a pretty good start by following a 69 at Carnoustie with a 67 at St Andrews to share 11th place with Clarke on eight under par.

Asked what he took from last week's record-equalliing Vivendi Trophy win, McGinley immediately pointed to incredible reaction he has had from his peers.

"It's very humbling, the nice, kind words that people are saying, particularly from the players that I've played with, every one of them, every single player has sent me an unbelievably nice text message. That's what I come away with more than anything. Yes, the victory was sweet and everything went well, but it's the respect that they gave me, and the kindness they showed. 

"So, yeah, it was a really good week to be honest. Of course, it was a great week in terms of success, but the thing I take away more than anything is the respect that they showed me, and you know, it's like every team I've played in before; you walk away with a bond. 

"Every Ryder Cup Team, you have a different bond after the week than do you at the start. There's no question, there's certainly a bonding between that bunch of guys last week. Somebody put it in perspective, we are playing against an unbelievably strong team, we won by a record margin and we played three quarters of the event with only nine men, and winning by a record margin. It was a great performance. You know, you saw their strength in the singles, how strong they were, so to beat them by five points was pretty special."

McGinley is a pretty special match player in his own right and of the 18 Irishmen who have played in the Ryder Cup only Christy O'Connor Snr, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington have won more points that the pint-sized Dubliner.

In 9 matches he's won 2, lost 2 and halved five for a 50 percent strike rate compared to O'Connor Snr's 36 percent haul of 13 points from 36 matches or Harrington's 8.5pts from 21 matches (40 percent).

No wonder he's respected and if he manages to finish the season well and give himself a platform to build on in this Ryder Cup race, he could yet challege for what would be a fairytale Ryder Cup return at Celtic Manor next year. They say the job is his but memories are short and he may need another Ryder Cup appearance to copperfasten the deal. The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is a long way away after all and considering Sandy Lyle's self-descruction in July and Thomas Bjorn's occasional urge to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, all McGinley needs to do is keep his nose clean for, er, five years'. 

Then again, there's many a slip twixt cup and lip. Even a Ryder Cup.