José Maria Olazabal has confirmed that he will not captain Europe at Gleneagles in 2014 and bookmakers William Hill have now installed Ireland’s Paul McGinley as favorite to replace the Spaniard as European captain.
Speaking at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning, having arrived back from Chicago, Olazabal confirmed: “In one way, I would like to be captain again in two year’s time, but the answer has to be no. I won’t do this again. There are many guys here who could do a great job. This has been an amazing experience for me, but now is the right time to step down.”
McGinley has now been a part of five winning Ryder Cup teams, three as a player and twice as a vice-captain. The 45 year-old also led Great Britain & Ireland to victory in back-to-back Seve Trophy competitions. McGinley of course sank the winning putt at the 2002 Ryder Cup and has never been on the losing team at either the Ryder Cup or Seve Trophy.
Olazabal confirmed that he would have “strangled” Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy if the 23 year-old had missed the tee off time for his singles’ match on Sunday. McIlroy of course went on to win his point against the previously unbeaten Keegan Bradley, though the Co. Down native made his tee off time with barely five minutes to spare and was presented with a giant clock by Olazabal when Europe’s victory was confirmed!
Olazabal was asked about his four vice-captains (McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez) and the difference they made in helping deliver Europe the “Miracle of Medinah.”
“All four guys are completely different. They have their own way of thinking,” said Olazabal.
“And I think that combination was very helpful for me, because I could have the view from a different perspective of how things were going. Also, they have the respect of the 12 players here, which was very important.
“They (the vice-captains) have played great golf for many years. They have won‑‑ Darren (Clarke) has won a major event and Thomas (Bjorn) has been fighting for it, and they have been great golfers for many, many years and the players on the team respect that.”
The captaincy of the European team in two year’s time is thought to be a shoot-out between this year’s four vice captains with three time Major winner Pádraig Harrington and 1999 British Open winner Paul Lawrie also thought to be in contention.