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European Ryder Cup captain McGinley puts faith in close friends

updated 5:05 PM EST, Thu March 6, 2014
European captain McGinley has named two close friends -- Des Smyth (l) and Sam Torrance (r) -- as his first vice captains.
European captain McGinley has named two close friends -- Des Smyth (l) and Sam Torrance (r) -- as his first vice captains.
  • Scotland's Sam Torrance and Irishman Des Smyth named as first European vice captains
  • Captain Paul McGinley says he will wait for team line up before naming remaining vice captains
  • Both Torrance and Smyth have won the competition before
  • Opening day's play at WGC Championship suspended by dangerous weather

(CNN) -- In the heat of battle, it's best to have your key allies closest to you and European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has certainly done that by naming two close friends as his vice-captains.

His decision was eased by knowing that both Sam Torrance and Des Smyth have previously played major roles in leading Europe to victory.

The Irishman now hopes they can do the same when the Europeans seek to defend the trophy at Gleneagles in Scotland in September.

Read: How player power promoted McGinley to captaincy

McGinley's compatriot Smyth was one of Ian Woosnam's vice captains in 2006 when Europe recorded their largest home victory -- by 18½ points to 9½ -- at the K Club in Ireland.

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Torrance, meanwhile, was an unforgettable skipper as he inspired Europe to a 15½-12½ victory at The Belfry in England in 2002.

Neither the Scot nor McGinley will ever forget the success since it was the Irishman himself who sunk the winning putt on his Ryder Cup debut.

"Paul was a special part of my team at The Belfry in 2002 and he knows I will do everything possible to help him and the team at Gleneagles," Torrance, 60, said in a statement.

"Everyone knows how much The Ryder Cup has meant to me over my career so I am absolutely delighted to be involved once again."

A veteran of 11 Ryder Cups, Torrance has won the competition three times -- twice as a player and once as a captain.

Smyth, 61, is a relative newcomer by comparison, having lost both competitions he contested as a player in 1979 and 1981 prior to the stunning turnaround in fortunes when vice captain eight years ago.

However, he does have the advantage of having known McGinley, now 47, since the Irishman was a teenager.

Read: 2014 Ryder Cup -- a tale of two captains

"As well as being good friends, (Smyth and Torrance) are two guys I greatly admire both personally and professionally and I know they will be vital assets to me in Scotland," McGinley said.

"They were the first two people I had in mind for this role when I was appointed captain and, since then, I have talked to a lot of the experienced European players about having them as part of the team and, to a man, they have been very supportive of the idea.

"Des took me under his wing when I was a young rookie on Tour and gave me tremendous advice which was not only valuable then but has continued to ring true for me throughout my professional career.

"His views and ideas about The Ryder Cup particularly have consistently proved to be spot on and I really enjoyed working with him as a vice captain in 2006 when I was a player."

McGinley added that he is spoiled for choice when it comes to his other vice captains but he will only name them once he learns who has qualified automatically for the European team in September.

Among the possible candidates are Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Spanish duo Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal, who captained Europe to victory in 2012.

"It's quite clear a lot of potential further vice captains could more than likely qualify for the team," said McGinley.

"A lot of them would still like to make the team so I just don't want to distract them by talking about Ryder Cup and so they can focus on making the side."

Tom Watson, the captain of the American team, has also already unveiled two of his vice captains: Raymond Floyd, 71, and Andy North, 63.

WGC's Monstrous Start

Meanwhile, the opening action of the WGC Championship was suspended after dangerous weather affected the first day at the Blue Monster course at Doral.

American Jason Dufner had been top of the leaderboard, five under par after 10 holes, before the combination of a tornado watch and violent thunderstorms prompted a halt in play.

World No. 2 Adam Scott, who can replace Tiger Woods at the top of the rankings with victory, was level par -- with Woods, the defending champion, one over -- after both had gone through six holes.

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