McDowell backs McGinley’s Ryder appointments

Portrush man convinced it will be ‘all about captain and team’ at Gleneagles in September

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral  in Doral, Florida, at the weekend. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida, at the weekend. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Mon, Mar 10, 2014, 10:15

Graeme McDowell believes Paul McGinley has done the Ryder Cup a favour by removing potential future captains from the assistant’s role by appointing Des Smyth and Sam Torrance as his deputies.

The three-time Ryder Cup player and hero of the 2010 victory at Celtic Manor said there have been incidents of past vice-captains “trying to make a name for themselves” as they eyed the captaincy for themselves.

But by adding 60-year-old Torrance, the 2002 captain, and 61-year-old Smyth to his back room staff, the Portrush man is convinced it will be “all about the captain and about the team” at Gleneagles in September.

“That’s always an interesting dynamic,” McDowell said of the role of heavyweights in the assistants roles. “With the vice-captaincy, guys can be trying to make a name for themselves and it’s important that it’s about the captain and about the team. I think Paul will be re-enforcing that. It’s not about individuals.”

Leadership qualities
Like compatriot Rory McIlroy, McDowell is 100 per cent behind the appointment of McGinley as captain for his leadership qualities and against the idea of testimonial or ceremonial captaincies for players simply because they have had great careers.

“Paul is going to be a fantastic captain. I said it from day one. Great lad. Scholar of that methodology of management, captaincy, leadership. He will do all the right things, he will press all the right buttons.

“To me, he is going to personify the right answer in the debate – Should [the emphasis] be on golfing credentials or leadership qualities when it comes to being a Ryder Cup captain? What’s more important?

“Leadership qualities are the most important thing. Look at Alex Ferguson, someone like that. Leadership, man management.

“Golfing credentials? Yes, you deserve to be a Ryder Cup captain. Does that mean you are going to be a great Ryder Cup captain? Not necessarily. Leadership qualities are very, very important and I think Paul is going to personify that really well.”

Like Rory McIlroy, McDowell is delighted to see McGinley appoint both Torrance and Smyth as his eyes and ears.

“They are great guys and I am a big fan of them both,” McDowell said.

“Sam is a guy I have always enjoyed being with and his Ryder Cup experience will be invaluable. They are guys you can confide in and Paul is that way too.

“I met Des way back in my early days. He would be a guy who put an arm around me when I was a young lad on tour. I have been out to dinner with him and always enjoyed his company. He’d have been a guy I’ve known for a long time.

“So far we have three very approachable captains and vice- captains and I would say that vein will continue.”

McIlroy said: “They are guys that Paul trusts, guys that Paul really counts on and relies on. It is important. Most of the guys will know Sam, not a lot of the guys will know Des. I don’t think that will be of any sort of significance. For me it’s great. I know both of them and get on really well with both of them.

“Des is someone that you could confide in, very much so, and someone you could have a nice chat with. He would never offer his advice unless you asked him. The first time I met Des was playing Baltray with JP a few years ago.”