With McGinley’s Europe locking horns with a Tom Watson-led United States, the Irishman is expected to name at least one and maybe two of his vice-captains at Government Buildings today (11:30am).
Veterans Des Smyth and former winning captain Sam Torrance are believed to be in the frame for McGinley’s set-up as Europe bid to retain the Ryder Cup for a third time in a row, following victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah. This year’s captain, 47, was a vice-captain on both of those winning teams, captained by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 and Jose Maria Olazabal in 2012, while Torrance was McGinley’s first skipper as a player in 2002 at The Belfry, where the Irishman famously sunk the winning putt for Europe.
As a Scot, 60-year-old Torrance would clearly be popular with the home fans at Gleneagles and having been McGinley’s choice as captain of the Great Britain and Ireland side in the Seve Trophy last year he is familiar with the personalities and games of the potential team members for the September 26-28 event.
Smyth would be another veteran with close links to McGinley, having mentored the Dubliner during his early days on Tour. The Louth golfer, 61, was a two-time Ryder Cupper, in 1979 and 1981, and was a vice-captain to Ian Woosnam at the K Club in 2006.
Other names under consideration as assistants for McGinley are current Tour pros Pádraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn and David Howell, all of whom would have strong identification with the age-profile of Europe’s team. For that matter, even Smyth and Torrance would represent a more youthful make-up to the American captaincy team.
Eight-time Major winner Watson will be 65 when the first match tees off and he has already named Andy North, 63, and Ray Floyd, 71, as his assistants.