Ian Poulter believes not giving Paul McGinley the Ryder Cup captaincy for next year’s showdown at Gleneagles might have cost the European team any chance of retaining the trophy.
Writing in his most recent column in Golf World magazine, the Englishman said he was delighted when McGinley was given the nod by the European Tour’s 15-man Tournament Committee after they had also discussed appointing Paul Lawrie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sandy Lyle and – controversially in many people’s eyes – triumphant 2010 skipper Colin Montgomerie.
And Poulter said there could have been a mini-revolt among the European squad if McGinley, twice Seve Trophy team captain and an assistant in the last two Ryder Cups, had not been put in charge.
“It would have upset a lot of people as well as some of the players - and that becomes a very dangerous thing to do,” wrote the 37-year-old, whose four-and-zero heroics at Medinah were the catalyst of the European team’s memorable comeback.
“In the end common sense prevailed. It would have been very unjust to have given the job to Colin. While of course Colin was influential in our victory [at The Celtic Manor], to give it to him again so soon would have been a reaction to Tom Watson’s selection and I think it would have been the wrong reaction.”
He added: “Paul may have only played in three [Ryder Cup] matches but we are never going to find a captain in Europe whose stature, record and career can begin to compare with Tom Watson.
“It is going to be such a close match, the last thing in the world that Europe needs or wants is to start the week with a few players not in the best of moods.
“As players we thought Paul was the best man for the job and that’s why many of us made a public stand for him in the days leading up to the decision because we thought it was the right thing to do”
McGinley’s European team and Watson’s Americans will go square up at Gleneagles in September 2014.