McGinley says Gleneagles will guide Ryder picks

Paul McGinley has strongly hinted his three European Team wildcard picks could very well go to those who play well this weekend at Gleneagles, the host venue for this week’s Johnnie Walker Championship.

McGinley says Gleneagles  will guide Ryder picks

The PGA Centenary course will also play host to the 2014 Ryder Cup in 13 months. However just two members of last year’s victorious European team will tee up today.

They are defending Johnnie Walker champion, Paul Lawrie, and his ‘Medinah Miracle’ team-mate, Italy’s Francesco Molinari, who enjoyed four top 10s in seven appearances.

In contrast, 10 of their fellow team-mates, with the exception of the injured Nicolas Colsaerts, are competing later today in the ultra-lucrative FedEx Cup Play-Off Series in New Jersey.

And while many of those in New Jersey should be expected to qualify automatically for McGinley’s team, the Dubliner says the choice of three ‘wildcard’ picks could go to those who’ve shown Gleneagles good form.

“It’s all doors open,” said McGinley. “I’m a firm believer in horses for courses and form over a course. It’s no coincidence you see players coming back year after year to certain venues or certain courses that suit their eyes, suit their game and they play well.

“So I’ll be watching closely how players perform this week, especially those who have done well here in the past. That would be a big marker and that’s a statistic I would look at closely when it comes to making my three picks.”

McGinley will join USA rival Tom Watson in a ‘One Year Remaining’ nine-hole challenge next week. But for this week McGinley will tee-up as a player still looking to end a near eight-year winless drought.

“I want to wear two hats at the same time this week,” he added.

“I’m a captain but I’m also a player. This is a chance to see the course and how it’s playing, what players it’s suiting and what ones it is not. Maybe a certain fairway or green needs to be changed in terms of tailoring, or the rough needs to be grown more or there could be a pin placement here or there. So I’ll have my eyes on all these things.”

McGinley will play the two rounds with two potential Ryder Cup aspirants in Shane Lowry and England’s Danny Willett. Also in the field is Gareth Shaw who was afforded an invitation into the event.

It is just the fifth main Tour event for 27-year-old Belfast golfer but who has banked €116,654 including a €102,000 fortnight windfall after finishing fifth in the Irish Open and 13th at the French Open.

Shaw is currently 127th on the money list and needs to end the year in the top 115 to earn full membership for a first time in 2014. Joining him will be fellow Belfast man and recent Russian Masters winner, Michael Hoey.

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