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GAA set me on the road to Ryder Cup captaincy - Paul

FORMED by the GAA and elected by Twitter, golfer Paul McGinley was on top of the world today.

The 46-year-old Dubliner has become Ireland's first Ryder Cup captain -- and revealed his time as a Gaelic footballer played a key part in the achievement.

McGinley, from Rathfarnham, had dreamed as a boy of lining out for the Dubs in an All-Ireland final.

But injury cut his football career short and he turned to golf, starting the journey to yesterday's announcement.

McGinley admitted he has not reached the heights of previous captains, but said the team format of the Ryder Cup brings out the best in him. And he gives massive credit for this to his experiences with Ballyboden St Enda's GAA club.

"Gaelic football is where I started. If you look at my career, it's quite modest compared to the ex-captains that we've had in Ryder Cups.

"I obviously don't match the record that they have in terms of what they have achieved in major championships.

"But what I did do in my career was I always performed extremely highly when I did play as part of a team.

"I think -- and some psychologists might explain it this way -- it goes back to my Gaelic football days, being part of the team, being in the dressing room," McGinley told the world at a press conference announcing his captaincy.

Fellow golfer Padraig Harrington, a three-time Major winner, also played for Ballyboden in his youth, as did Australian Rules legend Jim Stynes.

McGinley will have the honour of leading Europe at Scotland's Gleneagles course in 2014 against golf great Tom Watson's American team.

While Irish players have a long and distinguished involvement in the Ryder Cup, the captaincy always eluded them.

And it may have by-passed McGinley as well, had it not been for Twitter and a certain World No 1 Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy and a host of other top players then tweeted their support for McGinley, sealing the decision.

"I am the first captain to be elected by Twitter," McGinley quipped.

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