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Paul McGinley of Ireland (L) poses with the Ryder Cup while flanked by Rory McIlory of Northern Ireland during a news conference after McGinley was named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. Regis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi, Jan 15, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
Paul McGinley was beaming with pride on Tuesday after being appointed captain of Europe's Ryder Cup team for the biennial match against the United States next year.
The 46-year-old Irishman, who holed the winning putt in the 2002 match at The Belfry, was the unanimous choice of the Players Committee at a meeting in Abu Dhabi and becomes Ireland's first skipper in the history of the event launched in 1927.
Committee chairman Thomas Bjorn said five names were discussed: McGinley, 2010 captain Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sandy Lyle.
"This is a position I'm really thrilled to be in. It's also a very humbling experience and I can't wait to get into the role of captain and to working with the players," a misty-eyed McGinley said. "I'm just delighted it's happened and that the cards fell right for me. I think it's very important to have a captain that is still involved regularly as a player on the tour, and that's what I plan on doing for the next 18 months until the match."
McGinley replaced Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal, the inspiration behind Europe's remarkable comeback victory in Illinois in September.
He thanked players like world No 1 Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Luke Donald and last year's Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter for their support in the leadup to the captaincy vote for the 2014 match at Gleneagles, Scotland.
"Paul McGinley 2014 European Ryder Cup captain!!!" McIlroy wrote on his Twitter account. "Couldn't be happier for him ... roll on Gleneagle".
Paul McGinley of Ireland poses with the Ryder Cup during a news conference after being named the European Ryder Cup captain at the St. Regis in Saadiyat Islands in Abu Dhabi, Jan 15, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
McGinley has twice been a Ryder Cup vice-captain, to Montgomerie in Wales in 2010 and to Olazabal two years later.
He served his apprenticeship as a skipper when he led Britain and Ireland to victory over Continental Europe in the Seve Trophy team event in 2009 and 2011.
McGinley played in three Ryder Cups, from 2002-06, and was triumphant each time.
McGinley will be up against eight-time major winner Tom Watson, who will skipper the US in 2014.
"I congratulate Paul McGinley upon his selection as the next European Ryder Cup captain and anticipate his passion and love of the event will transfer to being an outstanding leader of his team," Watson said.