Sport Golf

Tuesday 20 March 2018

McGinley revelling in Europe's 'ass-kicking' habit

McGinley: Impressed with McIlroy Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
McGinley: Impressed with McIlroy Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Paul McGinley is bullish about the European grip on the Ryder Cup, and he has no time for the whisperers who suggest that a USA win would actually benefit the competition.

The captain of the victorious European side at Gleneagles two years ago is very happy that the Americans have won just twice in the last ten stagings of the Cup dating back to 1995, and he hopes Darren Clarke's team can maintain Europe's dominance.

And yet, we've all heard it: the opinion that it might just be better for USA to win this time in order to keep them interested and to ensure the survival of the biennial event into the future.

McGinley does not buy that argument. In fact, he is very happy to see the Americans 'getting their asses kicked' given the overall history of the event, although he accepts that Davis Love III's team will start as favourites at Hazeltine.

Speaking at Mount Juliet Golf Resort yesterday, where he is partnering owners Tetrarch Capital to create the Paul McGinley Golf Academy at the estate, the Dubliner gave his candid opinion on the 'USA needs to win' sentiment.

"I don't believe that. I've never believed that," he said. "My point on that one would be, where's the reasoning for that, where's the evidence for that?

"TV figures for every Ryder Cup are going higher and higher. Merchandising is higher and higher. Corporate hospitality is going higher and higher."

McGinley noted that after the European victory at Gleneagles, the American reaction to setting up a Task Force to review past performances and plan for 2016 was immense.

"I think I counted 24 days after Gleneagles, the Ryder Cup or the Task Force was still the lead story on the Golf Channel, so that gives you a reading of the American public," he said.

"If that wasn't the most interesting thing to the American public, they wouldn't have had that as the lead story, so everywhere you look, the indications are that 'no' is the answer to that question.

"My view is that we spent a lot of time losing Ryder Cups, going back to Christy (O'Connor) Senior's era and before. We spent a lot of time getting our asses kicked. Let them experience it a little bit longer."

European hopes of achieving that aim have improved given Rory McIlroy's win at the Deutsche Bank Championship last Monday in Boston.

McGinley was suitably impressed by the manner of the victory and its timing.

"It's a very strong message he's sending out," he said. "Rory has proved he's formidable when he's in form.

"He gave everyone a four-shot lead (McIlroy was four over after three holes of his first round) and still won by two.

"I haven't seen a dominating performance like that from Rory for two years.

"It reaffirmed that he still has the ability to have an extra gear. It will be interesting to see how Jason (Day), Jordan (Spieth) and Dustin (Johnson), in particular, react."

Love will announce three of his four wildcard selections on Monday after the BMW Championship.

McGinley reckons Love has tougher choices to make than Clarke, who opted for Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and rookie Thomas Pieters.

He felt that Europe had more players contending for a pick than the USA, highlighting Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson as star names whose form has not reached the heights this season.

"In Europe, we're going 'who are we going to leave out?'," he said.

"There was a number of guys that could easily have fitted in there and would deserve possibly to be on the team.

"Now that shows you that this is a strong European team."

Irish Independent

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