Paul McGinley: Complacency won't be an issue
European captain Paul McGinley believes his side faces a "different threat" from the United States as they look to defend the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles next week.
Europe have won seven of the last nine contests and go into the 40th Ryder Cup as odds-on favourites with a side containing four of the world's top six players, including world number one and Open and US PGA champion Rory McIlroy.
However, McGinley is well aware that the 'Miracle at Medinah' in 2012 has provided the American side with extra motivation to regain the trophy, along with that supplied by captain Tom Watson, who led the US to their last win on European soil in 1993.
"I'm under no illusions whatsoever," McGinley said at a press conference ahead of the ISPS Handa Wales Open, where team members Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Lee Westwood and Stephen Gallacher will complete their preparations this week.
"If we don't win this Ryder Cup, it won't be because of complacency, I can assure you that. We are very motivated. We know it's going to be a very strong American team. We know it's going to be a very strongly motivated team and a very strongly-led American team, as well.
"We are under no illusions how big this task is. It's not a case of turning up and the Americans are going to roll over. It is going to be very, very difficult to win this Ryder Cup. I think we've got a slightly different threat from America than we've had in the past, as far as they really feel like they are underdogs and they are up against it."
McGinley also feels question marks over Watson's wild card selections - with the in-form Chris Kirk and FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel missing out - can galvanise the American side, adding: "We've seen that in the past, certainly from a European perspective, how not being on form and questions marks being made about the team can really galvanise them.
"We will not be underestimating America, I can assure you of that. We will be absolutely ready for this."
McGinley, who has played on three winning teams and been vice-captain on two others, added: "My one worry is that you're at the very pinnacle of world sport here. You've got 12 of the best players from Europe playing 12 of the best from America. This is top level sport and anything can happen."
The 47-year-old Dubliner at least insists he has no concerns over the relationship between McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, who are currently involved, directly and indirectly, in a court case with McIlroy's former management company.
McIlroy's legal battle with Horizon Sports Management also involves the affairs of McDowell and the judge hearing the case said on Tuesday it involved such sensitive matters that the sides should engage in mediation.
"It's not a concern," McGinley added. "It has been going for a year and both have had very strong years. Rory's had arguably his best year ever and Graeme won the French Open. It has not affected their performance and both of them have assured me it's not going to affect anything in the team room.
"I would be very surprised if they don't play together, although I'm not going to write it in stone."
McGinley said he has a "skeleton plan" in place for his pairings and is happy with the different preparation methods of his team. He was having dinner with Donaldson, Westwood, Gallacher and Bjorn on Wednesday evening, when he will hand over a booklet with information and pictures of what to expect in terms of infrastructure at Gleneagles.
He also "endorsed" Victor Dubuisson's decision to withdraw from the tournament and prepare in France, with the players involved in the latter stages of the FedEx Cup play-offs having a rest.
"I'm delighted the guys who played in America are having a week off," McGinley said. "We did not have that in Medinah and I think we suffered. Graeme McDowell has gone on record saying he felt unprepared physically and mentally."
The course at Celtic Manor has been set up to replicate the challenge posed by Gleneagles, where McGinley said the three rookies on his team - Dubuisson, Donaldson and Gallacher - will definitely play at least one match before the singles.
Despite needing a wild card, Westwood will expect to play in most sessions in his ninth Ryder Cup and revealed he has lost 23lb in six weeks with two gym sessions a day.
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