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McGinley’s Ryder Cup vice captains to be announced

Spaniard Sergio Garcia finds himself the centre of attention against American Bill Haas. Picture: AP

Spaniard Sergio Garcia finds himself the centre of attention against American Bill Haas. Picture: AP

  • by MARTIN DEMPSTER
 

Paul McGinley is set to name his Ryder Cup vice captains next month but the choice of Dublin for that announcement despite the match being in Scotland is not believed to carry any real significance.

The European skipper for September’s match at Gleneagles will, it was revealed last night, be “making an announcement in relation to his vice captains” in the Irish capital on Thursday, 6 March.

His press conference will take place in Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s offices in the Government Buildings, where it will be broadcast live on Sky Sports News.

Eyebrows were raised immediately about that location but The Scotsman understands it is purely down to convenience rather than pointing to McGinley being set to unveil an all-Irish backroom team.

McGinley, the first player from the Emerald Isle to hold the Ryder Cup captaincy, is due to attend the Irish Golf Writers annual dinner the same day at Portmarnock and, given the huge interest over there in anything to do with him at the moment, it was decided to tie the two events together.

Inevitably perhaps, the choice of the location led to frantic social media activity and rumours that McGinley was set to name either Padraig Harrington or Darren Clarke, possibly both, as his vice captains for the first Ryder Cup to be played in Scotland for more than 40 years.

Harrington, of course, formed a successful partnership with McGinley in the event, but it seems unlikely the three-times major winner has been earmarked for a role in Perthshire and the same goes for 2011 Open champion Darren Clarke. He was one of McGinley’s main rivals for the job this time around before taking his hat out of the ring then endorsing Colin Montgomerie’s credentials for a second crack at the role.

A more likely choice for one of the spots is Sam Torrance after McGinley got him involved as the GB&Ireland captain in last year’s Seve Trophy, the Scot looking a good choice to try and counter the experience of US captain Tom Watson and his two right-hand men, Andy North and Ray Floyd.

Meanwhile, two players in contention for McGinley’s team – Sergio Garcia and Victor Dubuisson – moved into the last 16 after second-round wins in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain in Arizona.

After needing four extra holes to see off Australian Marc Leishman in round one, Garcia was the first player to claim a place in the third round as he beat American Bill Haas 3 and 1.

The Spaniard, who has played in six Ryder Cups and won the Qatar Masters last month, had been two down after seven, but was back to all square after 11. He then won four of the next six holes to take victory on the 17th.

Garcia now faces Rickie Fowler, who followed up his excellent first-round win over former winner Ian Poulter by clipping the wings of Jimmy Walker, the PGA Tour’s man of the moment. The pair traded holes throughout but Fowler edged ahead by taking the 14th, 16th and 17th.

Dubuisson, an impressive winner of the Turkish Airlines Open last November and edging closer and closer to a Ryder Cup debut, saw an early three-hole lead wiped out but recovered his poise to beat Swede Peter Hanson 3 and 1.

Dubuisson will now meet Bubba Watson, who beat Swede Jonas Blixt two up, with Jordan Spieth, last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, joining his compatriot in the next round as he crushed Dane Thomas Bjorn 5 and 4.

Top seed Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els, who beat Stephen Gallacher at the 19th in the first round, were all involved in later matches.

 

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