Sunset at the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort. Rory McIlroy’s Race to Dubai win and his decision to leave Titleist for Nike dominated the end of season chat as Shane Lowry clinched his first win as a professional and David Higgins won back his tour card. Naturally, the scramble for the 2014 European Ryder Cup captaincy was also a hot topic at the close of an epic 2012.


“I had four glasses of wine and went to bed early. It is not the same when you are  vice captain as opposed to playing. It is a lot different. It was not my gig.”

Darren Clarke on Europe’s Ryder Cup celebrations.


“If it was up to me I would like to see (Paul) McGinley as Ryder Cup captain in 2014 and then Clarkey in 2016 - I think that would work very well.”

Rory McIlroy on the succession stakes in the European Ryder Cup camp.


“I remember looking at the trophy as a young lad and saying it would be lovely to win it. I tried for a long time to win it and did it today and I’m just delighted.”

David Higgins follows in his father Liam’s footsteps with victory in the Irish PGA at Mount Juliet.


“I cannot believe this. I can’t explain how I feel really. It’s a dream come true - I’m over the moon. Everyone was referring to me as the fella who won the Irish Open as an amateur, but now I’ve won such a prestigious event I don’t know what to say.”

Shane Lowry claims his first win as a professional in the Portugal Masters.


“I just think I have to step back for a while and reassess. Maybe I will come back stronger. I don’t know. I have no immediate plans, which may be hard to believe. I suppose you can get institutionalised out on tour to a certain degree and there is a lot of other stuff going on in the world, good and bad, apart from golf.”

Colm Moriarty steps away from tour golf for the foreseeable future.


“I hadn’t even heard it, to be honest. Look, he’s a Titleist player and there is no way I am going to make any comment on anything like that.”

Rory McIlroy’s manager Conor Ridge when asked about speculation that his top client was about to sign a $250m contract with Nike.


“I think I was quoted as saying that if McIlroy carries the flag, he would be one of the most famous people on earth. What a lot of rubbish.”

OCI President Pat Hickey denies saying that McIlroy could boost his profile by carrying the tricolour at the 2016 Olympic Games.


“I see a lot of good things happening and I do believe that I’m turning the corner into a peak.”

Pádraig Harrington wins the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.


“I almost wanted to say, ‘Don’t spend it yet Caroline!’”

Harrington spots his wife being interviewed three holes from home as he closes in on the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda and his first win for two years.


“He just has a really good team vibe. He seems to think about the small things. That’s just what I’ve noticed.”  

Luke Donald backs Paul McGinley for the 2014 European Ryder Cup captaincy. 


“More and more are playing the game and with it being an Olympic sport, the interest is growing more and more in China.”

Rory McIlroy makes a rare, positive reference to the Olympics after beating Tiger Woods in the $3m Duel at Jinsha Lake exhibition match in China. 


“We wish Rory all the best, both personally and professionally, going forward.”

Wally Uihlein, Chief Executive Officer, Acushnet Company (Titleist/Footjoy), says goodbye to Rory McIlroy.



“He’s got to be very cautious. It’s a very dangerous time because your equipment is part of your golfing DNA, especially when you’re at that level.”

Nick Faldo is concerned about Rory McIlroy’s impending equipment change.


“I don’t know if it did or it didn’t but I would suggest not. If you want to look at a pattern like that, you’d have to ask if it affected Phil Mickelson, did it affect Ernie Els?”

Pádraig Harrington doesn’t believe that owning a jet affected his form.


“I set myself a number of ambitious goals at the start of the year, and to have ticked so many of the boxes feels great.”

Rory McIlroy secures the Race to Dubai title ahead of schedule.


“They probably should have nipped it in the bud many, many years ago.”

Graeme McDowell addresses the anchored putter controversy.


“It was good while it lasted but all good things come to an end and Miguel was fantastic. When I saw he was going well this week, I said, I think it’s going to go this time.”

Des Smyth loses his record as the European Tour’s oldest winner to Miguel Ángel Jiménez.


“I have to say I was very nervous in popping the question because I had a little speech I was going to make to her and found myself getting all choked up about it. We’ve been told it’s the first marriage proposal ever held on the helipad. We’re both 33 and we want to crack on and start a family and stuff.”

Graeme McDowell proposes on a helipad in Dubai.


“The bottom line is he’s doing it for money. When he looks at a 20-year career it’s not necessary. If he carries on and wins more majors he’ll be worth hundreds of millions anyway.”

Nick Faldo questions the wisdom of McIlroy’s move to Nike.


“But I guess that’s what being the world number one is all about. That’s why he gets paid the big bucks, to make these hard decisions at times. But I’m glad I don’t have to.”

Pádraig Harrington on Rory McIlroy’s “horrible” Olympics dilemma.


“It was Tiger-esque. Tiger has laid down the platform over the last decade as to how to go into overdrive in a tournament. We thought we’d never see it again, but we’re seeing it straight afterwards with Rory.”

Paul McGinley on Rory McIlroy’s victory in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.


“Simon’s telling you lies. It’s why you play golf, yes, for the pressure of competing. But you can’t enjoy this.”

David Higgins on the “enjoyment” factor at the European Tour Q-School.


“He’ll have no problems at all with new equipment. If you look at the clubs he is going to change to, all the shafts are the same. He is also going from blade to blade, which is quite an easy thing to do.”

Michael Bannon on Rory McIlroy’s move from Titleist to Nike.


“I am gutted. I have never had such a bad break in my life. My brain was fried after that.”

Chris Devlin on the quadruple bogey eight that scuppered his chances at the Q-School in Catalonia.


“My attitude has not been good playing for the last few years in the Irish Region. I knew I was better than that. I’m not saying [that playing] the Region is a disaster, but I always knew in my own mind that I wasn’t achieving what I was capable of achieving.”

David Higgins after winning back his card at the European Tour Qualifying School.


“We are going to have to take the Tournament Players Committee out because there are vested interests involved and that is not the way it was supposed to be.”

Des Smyth criticises the politics involved in choosing a Ryder Cup captain in Europe.


“Understood. We are out of the mix. No contract for 2013. Pat Mac.”

Oakley sues McIlroy and Nike.


“There simply isn’t anyone of Tom Watson’s status in Europe, we don’t have any eight-time Major champions. In golf, if you’re up against a real big hitter, the last thing you do is try to compete with him.”

Pádraig Harrington on the futility of trying to combat the Tom Watson factor at Gleneagles in 2014.


“We’ll have to win big events and play each other down the stretch. That hasn’t happened yet.”

Tiger Woods on his non-rivalry with Rory McIlroy.


“The fact that Tom Watson has been made America’s captain should not colour our judgement. We should have only one criteria - picking the best man for the job.”

Colin Montgomerie on Europe’s search for the 2014 Ryder Cup captain.


“There are certain people who are meant to be in charge of a team and some who are not.”

More Monty. Did he mean Darren Clarke?


“Maybe we have to have a look and consider other people as well. Whoever it is standing on that stage opposite Tom Watson needs a huge presence. We seriously need the right man for the job. We do have an (unwritten) rule where we don’t ask anybody to do it again, but we might have to look at that.”

Darren Clarke sets out his criteria for the 2014 European Ryder Cup captain - a big presence. Did he mean Colin Montgomerie or himself?


“I’m looking at my putting as a weakness.”

Pádraig Harrington on what he needs to improve in 2013.


“If in 2013 I don’t win a major I’ll be disappointed.”

Rory McIlroy is clear about his goals for 2013.


“There is no truth to it whatsoever.”

McIlroy buys Caroline Wozniacki a ring for Christmas but they are not engaged.