Paul McGinley, captain of the European Team at the Ryder Cup 2014, will count on the support of three Spaniards who, no doubt, will prove vital if Europe are to retain the trophy at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire (Scotland): Sergio García, classified on his own merits, plus José Mari Olazábal and Miguel Ángel Jiménez, in whom the Irishman is placing his trust as two of his vice-captains.
José Mari Olazábal, from Guipúzcoa in the Basque Country, has formed part of the European team on no less than eleven occasions: seven times as a player (1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2006) and vice-captain in 2008 and 2010 under the orders of Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie respectively.
In 2012, as captain, he marshalled his team to one of this sport’s greatest ever triumphs, going down in folklore as the: “Miracle of Medinah”.
It should not be overlooked that, along with his great friend Seve Ballesteros, Jose forms the best ever pairing in the history of the Ryder Cup.
Miguel Ángel Jiménez from Churriana needs no introduction on this page.
His first taste of the Ryder Cup was in 1997 as the right-hand man of Seve Ballesteros at Valderrama (Cádiz) ending after three rain-sodden days with victory for the home continent.
As a player he has been involved in four editions: 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2010.
In 2012 he again lent his experience acting as vice-captain for his friend Olazábal, and lighting more than a few cigars along the way.
Miguel Ángel Jiménez was in the running to qualify for the team on merit after a marvellous start to the season. Alas, it wasn’t to be. Paul McGinley was in no doubt as to the merits of the two Spaniards.
This will be Sergio García’s eighth Ryder Cup after he made his debut in 1999.
The talented player from Castellón appears, at times, hampered by a suspect temperament (above all in individual events) but will now have been a player on seven occasions and was also appointed vice-captain by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 during one of his playing troughs.
As an amateur, he played in two Junior Ryder Cups in 1995 and 1997.
It is also worth noting that another Spaniard will also be present in Scotland: the Young Asturian amateur Iván Cantero who plays on Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup team at the The Blairgowrie Golf Club prior to the main event.