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Monday 15 September 2014

Paul McGinley: I’ll be the most prepared Ryder Cup skipper in history.

Phil Casey

Published 15/05/2013 | 15:37

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Paul McGinley

Paul McGinley promises to be the most well prepared captain Europe has ever had when he leads the side at Gleneagles next September.

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As well as the experience gained from playing on three consecutive winning teams from 2002, including holing the winning put at The Belfry on his debut, McGinley has been a vice-captain in the last two wins at Celtic Manor and Medinah.

The Dubliner is also unbeaten in the Seve Trophy, twice as a player but more significantly twice as captain in 2009 and 2011, and has a long-standing interest in the psychology of sport at the highest level.

But with all that in mind, it was interesting to hear the 46-year-old stress the need to keep things simple when his side defend the trophy won in such amazing fashion in Chicago last year.

"Even captains I didn't play under I learnt from by watching and observing," McGinley said during a commentary stint for Sky Sports during last week's Players Championship.

"I do the same with soccer, watching the managers in their interviews afterwards. It's something I have an interest in and it's not just the last couple of years. I've always had it. I am very much intrigued with the psychology of sport and the management of sporting people."

Asked if that meant speaking to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson for advice, McGinley added: "I will gather information like I always do. But I am very conscious in the next 18 months of not over-complicating things and making things too difficult, not just for the players, but for myself as well.

"I have a good idea of the template that's worked in the Ryder Cup over the last decade or so. I understand that template and the way I see it is to take that, improve it and keep rolling it out.

"I've got a lot of information on the players over the years. I am fortunate that I have captained some of them like Rory (McIlroy) and Graeme (McDowell) in the past and Lee (Westwood). The big thing with players is that we always come in and out of form. Hopefully the stars are aligned so we have a number of European players coming into form at the right time next year."

McGinley's opposite number Tom Watson has reduced the number of wild card selections available to him from four to three, but the Irishman has already stated any possible change to the European system would involve "tweaking" rather than something radical.

And he insists he would be happy to deal with anyone who qualifies for the team, whether that means a host of rookies or even veterans like former captain Bernhard Langer.

"It doesn't give me puzzles, it gives me excitement," he said. "There are going to be rookies in the team. You even take a situation like Bernhard Langer in the Masters, he wasn't that far away from maybe winning it if he had a really hot Sunday.

"I have to keep all my options open for those potential things to happen. Whether it be a Bernhard Langer or a David Lynn, I would be excited to welcome them to the team."

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