Captaincy and design, with Paul McGinley
On the Ryder Cup captaincy…
OBVIOUSLY I would love to be captain one day. I enjoyed being an assistant for Colin but I found it a strange experience, I was there to help him rather than put forward my own opinions.
What I did think was great was that Colin consulted all his assistants before coming to any decisions and we all felt very involved.
On course design…
I HAVE done three courses and am about to start a fourth project and I am very passionate about design.
My main philosophy is to make the course playable. I loved Castle Stuart where the Scottish Open was and I would certainly look to use some of those philosophies in future designs. Some people seem to have a problem with low scoring, I don’t.
I’m not a fan of huge carries over water or big expanses of sand. The average player’s handicap is going up yet the courses are becoming tougher. I don’t want to criticise Ernie Els as his remit was to make Wentworth a tougher course which he has achieved. Do I enjoy it more now? I would probably say not.
The team in 2004 at Oakland Hills was incredible and I would liken Bernhard Langer to Kenny Dalglish these days, nobody is going to out-think him too much and his preparation was incredible. On the current strength of Irish golf…
EVERYTHING is cyclical but it is not just chance. There are great systems in place and it has been a fantastic few years, starting with Padraig.
I was aware of Rory as an amateur, and his scores made you take notice when you picked up a paper. Rory’s potential is obviously ridiculous and, when he is playing well, he does what he did at the US Open.
He needs to learn how to contend when he isn’t playing his very best but that will all come.
It frustrates me that my old caddie JP Fitzgerald gets some stick. He is a great caddie, and was a great player in his own right. He has done the right thing and kept his head down and got on with it.
On the best Ryder Cup team I played in…
THAT was probably the one at the K Club. We had two rookies in the side and they were Karlsson and Stenson.
Ian Woosnam had a template in place and stuck to it. It would have been very easy to overthink things and there was a real skill in being understated, it was a great team but everyone played at least twice before the singles and nobody had played too much.
The team in 2004 at Oakland Hills was incredible and I would liken Bernhard Langer to Kenny Dalglish these days, nobody is going to out-think him too much and his preparation was incredible. I think those two successes have played a real part in Europeans winning so many Majors in recent years.
On holing the winning putt in ‘02…
I KNEW my match was important as there were quite a few players watching my match who had gone out around me.
I was so focused on doing what I had to do at The Belfry that I didn’t look at the scoreboards too closely.
If you watch it on You Tube you will notice that I hit the putt quite quickly.
That isn’t because I was nervous, rather that I could see the putt. JP was looking at the putt and saying what he thought and I said ‘I’ve got it’ which meant don’t say anything else as my mind was made up.
Thankfully it went in. I was very lucky in that I played in three matches and was on the winning side each time.