Ryder Cup: Getting down to business with Paul McGinley


NCG's Dan Murphy met Europe's Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley recently for a chat about his preparations for this month's event.

So the wildcards have been picked and all nine members of Europe’s Ryder Cup team are waiting in anticipation for their chance to shine at Gleneagles this month.

For captain Paul McGinley the hard work is just beginning, and NCG’s Dan Murphy spoke to the Scotsman about how he is preparing for the biggest Ryder Cup ever.

DAN MURPHY: Opening tee shot – do you expect a lot of drivers give the situation?

PAUL MCGINLEY: The bigger hitters will hit a 3-wood, while normal hitters will hit the driver. You can hit it too far as there is a hazard down the right-hand side and it is 310 yards to reach this. It depends on the weather and conditions on that morning so expect to see a lot of drivers.

DM: What did you think about Bubba Watson whooping on the 1st tee?

PM: I’m a traditionalist of the game. What Bubba did was fun and spontaneous and theatre but I won’t be encouraging it.

DM: Have you been involved in any discussions about any contingency plans if the weather is bad?

PM: I think all credit to Monty, he made a very brave decision that was proved to be absolutely correct and probably was the reason why we won the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor. So there are contingencies and I will be aware of it but again a lot of those contingencies and decisions will be based on how we’re playing.

Monty took the view that we were strong and we were fresh and that having all 12 players on the course at one time would suit us better.
That was an assessment he made on the hoof at that time. So you can have all these plans in place but you don’t know what’s going to evolve and I think you have to rely heavily on your vice captains and on yourself and on your instinct.

I learned a lot about instinct from listening to Jose Maria Olazabal and from how he went about his captaincy. He really did captain with instinct. And Monty, as much as he was a planner and an organiser, when the question was asked of him he reverted to instinct and obviously was proved to make very good decisions. So good captaincy is a balance between those two, planning the organisation and the instinct, going with your gut feeling.

DM: We know that Dubuisson is quite an unusual guy so what kind of a player do you think you might find to pair him up with?

PM: I’ve made it my business over the last six months to really get to know the guy and spend time with him and I have done, I’ve had dinner with him a number of times, I’ve had drinks with him, I’ve communicated with him quite a bit. I’ve been preparing myself to hopefully make some good decisions regarding him. So I’m getting a whole brief in my head put together, as to who he is, where he comes from, what he does, who he could be paired with, what his game is like, what he’s taught by other guys.

You take somebody like Ian Poulter or Graham McDowell or Sergio Garcia, I really have a strong profile on them, both as as players and as individuals because I know them so well. Obviously Victor I didn’t but I’ve made it my business in the last six months to really get to know him.

DM: Obviously the finish is where it all matters, how would you talk your team through the last three holes?

PM: It is a par 5, par 3 and par 5 finish.

The 16th is over water and normally played into the prevailing wind so there is a  big onus on hitting the fairway.

The 17th normally plays into the wind and can be a 5-iron to a back pin or a 7 to the front.

The 18th is a tiny target and short by modern standards. You must hit the fairway as there are lots of run-offs on either side. This means there are lots of opportunities to turn around a two-hole deficit late on.

Then I would say the 18th is pretty tight and it is pretty hard to hit the green from the rough.

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