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In the driver's seat: McGinley set for '14 Ryder Cup captaincy?

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GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Europe isn’t lacking potential captains for future Ryder Cups but it appears popular Irishman Paul McGinley is in the driving seat for the role in 2014 at Gleneagles.

McGinley was this week reappointed as Britain & Ireland captain for next month’s Vivendi Seve Trophy against Continental Europe in Paris, giving him an ideal opportunity to further his claims for the Ryder Cup captaincy in three years’ time.

If that was to happen, Scottish pair Paul Lawrie and Colin Montgomerie - two veterans of the European circuit - would welcome the appointment.

“It seems they’re putting Paul strongly in a position to be the captain, which I think is a good move,” Lawrie said on Wednesday. “He proved it the last time at the Vivendi that he was a good captain. Everyone had positive things to say about him.

“I think he’s captain material. He’s a good lad and he’s played in a few Ryder Cups himself, so he knows what to do and what not to do.”

McGinley shot to fame by holing the winning putt from 11 feet in the 2002 competition at the Belfry, and was on victorious Europe teams in 2004 and ’06.

He was also vice captain of Europe’s winning side in 2010 in Celtic Manor, Wales, which was led by Montgomerie.

“I think it does strengthen his case to be captain here at Gleneagles, there’s no question,” Montgomerie said of McGinley’s appointment for the Vivendi Seve Trophy to be played Sept. 15-18.

“I think he was found to be a great captain of that Britain & Ireland team last year.”

Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn would also be a likely contender for the 2014 captaincy but may still be in the running to play in the match, which is unlikely to be the case for McGinley, who is currently ranked No. 560.

Darren Clarke’s surprise British Open victory last month should leave him out of contention while Montgomerie, a Ryder Cup stalwart, could also be in the frame, although he insists he wouldn’t be putting his name forward.

“If the Tour, the committee would like me to do it again, of course I would take that role. But I need to be asked. I’m available - ’m not playing that week probably.”

Europe looks to be in safe hands from 2016 onwards, with the likes of Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood tipped to be future captains of Ryder Cup teams.

That responsibility falls to Jose Maria Olazabal for the 2012 event in Medinah near Chicago and Montgomerie doesn’t envisage the Spaniard picking his mind for tips over the next 13 months.

“If there’s something that’s particularly bothering him or there’s a problem, by all means. He knows my number. But I don’t foresee those problems arising,” Montgomerie said.

“I think he’s his own man, a very passionate man and I think he will do it his way.”