McGinley gets down to business
New Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has wasted little time embracing the European team’s leadership role heading into next year’s Gleneagles encounter.
By Bernie McGuire, Abu Dhabi
Less than a day after receiving the unanimous vote of the Tournament Players Committee the delighted Dubliner only scratched the surface in terms of the issues he will have to address in the coming 20 months.
One is the fact the 2014 Johnnie Walker Championship will be suspended for one season to allow preparations of the Ryder Cup host venue and thus ruling out the Scottish event as the final automatic European qualifying event.
“We haven’t got a schedule for 2014 yet but there is no Johnnie Walker next year so we will have to wait and find out what the last qualifying event will be, so that is an issue,” McGinley said.
“Also I am going to have to sit down and look at the qualifying process as the goalposts have changed a little bit as we’ve not got more players on the PGA Tour than for the last two captains.
“I will do all my stats on the players, look back on the last two years and see where we are as my objective is to have the best 12 players for the European team though, at the same time, taking into account players showing loyalty to the European Tour.
“When Edoardo Molinari had a good year on the European Tour in 2010, he was able to make the team and it is very important to me that fresh blood have the opportunity of making the team for Gleneagles but then I would be happy also to have the 12 players again that competed in Medinah.”
McGinley also spoke on matters regarding visiting Gleneagles in coming months, possible vice captain choices, the need for a distinct Scottish theme during the event, looking to attract leading players to this year’s Johnnie Walker Championship and expressing the wish there’s not a repeat of the cruel weather that saw the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales extend into a Monday.
However much of McGinley’s time in the 24 hours since his appointment has been consumed dealing with an overwhelming outpouring of support from his fellow players, officials, caddies and Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship spectators.
McGinley revealed even before the meeting he had received in excess of 200 text messages, so much so that American Ryder Cup star, Jason Dufner, who he played a practice alongside on Tuesday afternoon, could not stop laughing at the number of times McGinley’s rang during the round.
By yesterday afternoon the number of text messages McGinley had received was closing on 600.
However amid the delight in McGinley’s appointment, the 46-year old confessed he was also prepared for the likelihood of not being appointed the successor to Jose Maria Olazabal.
“I had notes in my pocket about how I was going to project myself and what I was going to do if that happened,” he revealed.
“I had prepared for both eventualities and fortunately and I’m speaking from the right side of the fence.
“I assured the Tour that I would act with integrity expected by the Tour and if I wasn’t going to be appointed, despite the players support, I would wish the winner the best of luck, and leave it at that, knowing that it was probably my last opportunity.
“It would have been sore but I had so many irons in the fire. I also have six different sponsors and they had all renewed before the decision was made, irrespective of what that was, so that means a lot to me.
“I’ve also got three companies and I’m involved in a huge project down in Ghana to develop golf down there in a project that the R&A are involved in. That’s taking up a lot of my time.
“I’ve built three Paul McGinley Academies down there and we started work on a golf course last Monday.”
McGinley will strive to get back to some normality teeing up at 7.45am (Irish time) today in the company of Spain’s Jorge Campillo and Denmark’s Andreas Harto on the first day of the opening event of the 2013 Middle East Swing.
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