Paul McGinley Interview

The European Captain Paul McGinley talks to us about the secrets to his success at Gleneagles last September

All smiles at the final-day press conference

Were you able to actually enjoy Ryder Cup week?

I was very much in management mode all week, and yes, I enjoyed it ... every minute of it. It was a great thrill and a great honour to be Ryder Cup captain, it really was. I’ve been to many Ryder Cups - both as a player and an assistant - so I knew how it was going to unfold. I was prepared for it; I had a plan in place. But I was always half a day ahead of what was actually happening. As the morning session was going on, I had my notebook out and was preparing the team for the afternoon, and communicating with the guys who were coming in for the afternoon. I didn’t see myself as a cheerleader out there on the course when the players were up and running. Once I’d seen them off the first tee, I was working on a formula for the afternoon’s play - who was going to play, working through my strategy for the whole week. It was pretty full on, but I loved every minute.

Did you have a masterplan, then?

A skeleton plan, I called it. There were a few changes here and there as we went along, but it pretty much stayed in place from the practice rounds, right through to the continuity of the pairings in the fourballs and foursomes. Looking back on my notes now, I would say at least 85 to 90 per cent of the pairings I envisioned for the week in each session happened.

Was there a pivotal moment that turned things Europe’s way?

Three and a half points on Saturday afternoon, to set us up with a four-point lead heading into the singles on Sunday - that was huge. I think Ian Poulter’s performance in the morning on Saturday with Rory, getting us that half point, was very important because it set us up for a very strong afternoon. And then Justin Rose’s putt on 18 in the afternoon to stop the Americans getting a full point was really important.


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