Born in Dublin with his family roots in Donegal, Paul McGinley was a talented Gaelic footballer as a child before a knee injury turned his attentions to golf.
Part of GB&I’s Walker Cup team at Portmarnock in 1991, where he partnered his great friend Padraig Harrington in the foursomes and inflicted a rare defeat on Phil Mickelson alongside Liam White. McGinley turned professional soon after but his playing career took a few years to get off the ground, however.
It was not until 2002 that he made his Ryder Cup debut. The image of McGinley in the water on the 18th green at the Belfry, soaked, proudly holding aloft the Irish tricolour, tells the tale.
The whole match came down to McGinley’s singles match against Jim Furyk, where the Irishman had an eight-footer on the 18th green to win. With incredible composure, he calmly rolled his putt into the middle and instantly became a European folk hero, aswell as a little wet.
He was also on the winning side in 2004, at Oakland Hills, and in 2006 on home soil at the K Club.
Yet if McGinley established a reputation as a formidable competitor, it was the Ryder Cup captaincy at Gleneagles in 2014 that proved to be career-defining. He combined diligent preparation with attention to detail, strategy rooted in cold, hard facts and astute man-management. Nobody doubted the Irishman’s competitive spirit but he was never less than courteous and respectful to his opposite number – the great Tom Watson.
The result was a comprehensive 16½-11½ victory for Europe and the legacy of undoubtedly being one of his continent’s greatest golf leaders.
|Ryder Cup Captain||2014|
|Ryder Cup Player||3|
|European Tour Wins||4|
|Highest World Ranking||18|