INTERVIEW - Ryder captain to be named by Christmas - McGinley
By Tony Jimenez
WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley expects Europe, beaten by the United States in Minnesota earlier this month, to name Darren Clarke's successor as skipper by the end of the year.
The Americans ended a run of three successive defeats in the biennial event when they overcame Clarke's side 17-11 at Hazeltine National.
According to media reports, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington of Ireland are the frontrunners to take over as captain for the next edition in France in 2018.
"We'll be appointing a new skipper probably this side of Christmas," McGinley told Reuters in an interview after posting a final-round 75 at the British Masters on Sunday.
"We are very disappointed to have lost the Ryder Cup. It hurts to lose... the event goes from strength to strength, this time it didn't go our way but we'll re-galvanise and come at the Americans again."
McGinley, who finished in a share of 54th position with a two-under-par total of 282 at The Grove course on the outskirts of London, explained how the selection process for the next Ryder Cup would work.
"There are five people making the choice, the three most recent captains - Darren, myself and Jose Maria Olazabal -combined with European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley and someone nominated by the Players' Committee," said the 49-year-old Irishman.
"I believe that player is (British Open champion) Henrik Stenson. Hopefully we'll get together before Christmas, get that decision made... and go on to regain the Ryder Cup."
McGinley, who led Europe to victory by 16-1/2 points to 11-1/2 in Scotland in 2014, believes Le Golf National will be a "wonderful venue" for the matchplay competition in 2018.
"I think it will be a terrific Ryder Cup in France," he said. "Paris will be a great host city and it's up to us to get our ducks in a row and have a very strong team again."
From a playing point of view, McGinley suffers these days as a result of making only sporadic appearances on the circuit.
He will become eligible for the Seniors Tour on his birthday in December and cannot wait to join his fellow 50-somethings.
"I'm looking forward to that," said McGinley. "One of the things I've learned this week is that the aches and pains are starting to grow.
"For no reason I woke up this morning with a stiff glute and I need to get to the bottom of that because to play regular tournament golf you need to be fit and pain-free.
"I am going to need to work on my fitness over the next few months."
McGinley began the final round at The Grove in a tie for 27th place but slid down the field over the last 18 holes.
"This is my third playing week out of five and that's why I feel I've had a bit of form because I've played a bit of tournament golf," he said.
"My yardages have got honed in and I've started getting more competitive, that's what is important.
"You can't just take it up and leave it... even if you're playing tournaments and missing cuts, that's not a bad thing because at least you're being competitive," added McGinley.
"In that situation you're learning where your game is at and from there you can try and adjust going forward."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)