Rory McIlroy made a lot of noise with the formal unveiling of his Nike deal on Monday, which underscored the notion that when the world’s best golfer speaks, people listen. And Rory made it clear during the glitzy celebration of his joining Team Tiger that he was not a fan of Colin Montgomerie returned for a second term as Ryder Cup captain.
Instead, with the Euros expected on Tuesday to name their next Ryder Cup chief, McIlroy put the full weight of his growing influence behind Ireland’s Paul McGinley as the best man for the job of retaining the cup in 2014.
"I personally don't feel like Monty has anything to gain over this," the two-time major champion said during a Q&A period following Nike’s introduction of its new Swoosh-meister. "If we go to Gleneagles and lose, he's already a winning Ryder Cup captain. I'm fully behind Paul and I think Paul should get the job and hopefully he does."
McIlroy’s endorsement was hardly a surprise, since he backed McGinley’s bid on Twitter before his Nike-palooza in Abu Dhabi.
RC captaincy should be a 1 time thing... Everybody deserving gets their chance and moves on... Would love to play under Paul McGinley in '14— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) January 13, 2013
While not officially tossing his visor into the ring in the race to succeed Jose Maria Olazabal, Montgomerie has hardly discouraged support for a return engagement as head of the European squad. The captain of the victorious 2010 unit, Monty has amassed a stellar 20-9-7 Ryder Cup record and remains undefeated in singles matches. He also resides not far from Gleneagles, the Scottish venue for next year’s contest.
"Obviously, it would be a dream come true if I could be seen to be captain at home in Scotland. It will be a great honor,” the Scottish Montgomerie said in South Africa, where he competed in last week's Volvo Golf Champions event.
"I've always said that we need the best man for the job, whoever that is. And if we're going for the best man for the job, then that doesn't say you shouldn't do it again,” said Montgomerie. “I’ve never canvassed, as I didn't last time. I've not spoken to anybody about this. But I've always felt that if I was asked I would do it, and that's still the case."
Olazabal took himself out of the running when he said on Sunday he would refuse a second opportunity to take up the Ryder Cup reins.
“I would never do it again," he told Press Association Sport Sunday from the Volvo tourney. “First of all it's a lot of energy and time, a huge demand and the pressure is quite big.
“It's a different pressure, not one we are used to out there playing on the course. The media scrutinize everything you say and every possibility,” said Olazabal, who engineered Europe’s epic comeback against the Americans at Medinah in September. “On top of that, I've done it and it couldn't have been any better.”
Darren Clarke had been a leading candidate until he decided he had a few more years of competitive golf in him and informally bowed out of the chase.
With McIlroy dismissing Montgomerie’s informal candidacy and boosting McGinley, a four-time European Tour winner, for the job, the captaincy would appear to be his. McGinley played on three Ryder Cup teams and served as vice-captain in 2010 and 2012.