Saturday 7 December 2019

Westwood: McGinley a great template

Lee Westwood urged future European Ryder Cup captains to follow Paul McGinley's example after the Irishman led the home side to victory at Gleneagles.

Inspired by the performances of Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, Europe won by five points to record an eighth victory in the last 10 contests.

And while that statistic prompted Phil Mickelson to call for a reversion to the successful approach of 2008 United States captain Paul Azinger - right in front of losing skipper Tom Watson - Westwood said Europe should keep the template perfected by McGinley.

" I think Paul got a great template and a model for captains going forward," said Westwood, who has played under nine different captains. "I think you could base your captaincy and your future captain around the way Paul did it this week."

World number one Rory McIlroy, who publicly lobbied for McGinley to be made captain in January 2013, added: "H e has just been the most wonderful captain and I can't speak highly enough of him.

"From the first day we got here, the speeches that he gave, the videos he showed us, the people that he got in to talk us, the imagery in the team room, it all tied in together; all part of the plan, all for the cause of trying to win this Ryder Cup.

"He was meticulous in his planning. He left no stone unturned. I think I speak on behalf of all the 12 players up here and just say that he couldn't have done anything else. He was absolutely fantastic."

McGinley brought former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in to speak to the team at the start of the week and ensured his players relished the unusual position of being odds-on favourites.

"W e had pressure on us, but I referenced Rory McIlroy there, number one player in the world, he has pressure on him and he knows how to deal with these situations when you're favourite," McGinley said. "Obviously one of the reasons why Alex Ferguson was a guy that I asked a lot of questions of, was that reason.

"Most matches Manchester United would have played in, they would have been favourites, and dealing with favourites was something he was used to and comfortable with. He gave me a couple of pointers in that direction and like I said the last few months, let's embrace this situation.

"I had lunch with John Jacobs, the very first European Ryder Cup captain (when European players were added to the team in 1979) a couple of months ago, and there was tears welling in his eyes as we spoke about the fact that we were going in to be favourites and how strong the players were, with the number one player in the world and four of the top five players in the world were European and how proud he was of all that.

" I always had the view, let's embrace this. Let's not be embarrassed about it or think it's a disadvantage."

McIlroy, who became the first player since Tom Watson in 1977 to win two majors and the Ryder Cup in the same year, said: " I wasn't aware of that and it's obviously a nice honour to have.

"It's the icing on the cake of what has been a very special summer for me, to win back-to-back majors and then to be a part of this fantastic team led by a wonderful captain, I couldn't have asked for the summer to end any better.

"I didn't know that it had not been done since 1977, but you know, if it's not me in a couple years' time again, I hope it's one of these guys (his team-mates) that gets two majors and gets a Ryder Cup, as well."

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