G-Mac: US need for a win will make next Ryder Cup an epic

Graeme McDowell believes the continuing fallout from Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles will ensure a "fairly epic" contest in two years’ time.

G-Mac: US need for a win will make next Ryder Cup an epic

McDowell thinks Phil Mickelson broke an “unwritten rule” by criticising captain Tom Watson in public after the United States suffered their third straight defeat — and eighth in the last 10 contests — last month.

Mickelson’s comments in the US team’s press conference — with Watson sat just a few feet away — have prompted the PGA of America to announce an 11-strong task-force to look into all aspects of the Ryder Cup, including how they select captains, the qualifying system and when wild cards should be picked.

And although the one man with experience of captaining a winning side this century, 2008 skipper Paul Azinger, has turned down the chance to participate, McDowell feels everything points to an event not to be missed at Hazeltine in 2016.

“I think there’s positive and negative connotations there,” said McDowell ahead of his defence of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at The London Club.

“I think the negative being that maybe it takes too much emphasis off the European victory and a little bit more on the US failure. And I think the positive being their renewed effort to win the Ryder Cup, and that can only be very, very good for the tournament. It just means two years’ time is going to be fairly epic. I want to be there for sure.”

McDowell played as many times at Gleneagles as Mickelson — who was left out of a full day’s play for the first time in 10 appearances — but insisted he would not have criticised European captain Paul McGinley if his plan had not worked out.

“There’s kind of an unwritten rule, you don’t call your captain out at a Ryder Cup. Win, lose or draw, you just don’t,” added McDowell.

“I see the negative connotations to it but I see the positive side that they will have to really have an in-depth look at what they are doing wrong and try to bring together a recipe that connects the PGA of America and the PGA Tour players.

“When we come back we play for the European Tour, whereas the Americans they need to have something that can sort of mould them all together that week, I suppose. Two years’ time will be a telling one. If we were to win that, then that could be interesting. But I think they will be seriously up for it.”

McDowell is one of six Ryder Cup players in the field for the 50th anniversary edition of the Volvo World Match Play, with team-mates Victor Dubuisson, Stephen Gallacher, Henrik Stenson and Jamie Donaldson joined by American Patrick Reed.

Tiger Woods and Mickelson are part of the 11-strong ‘task force’ created to examine all aspects of the US Ryder Cup process.

The PGA of America said the task force would examine the selection of Ryder Cup captains and vice-captains, the qualifying system, the dates by which the team is determined and the timing of wild card selections.

Meanwhile, Ryder Cup veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez says he would “love” to captain the European side in 2016.

Jimenez, 50, was also vice-captain to late Spanish great Seve Ballesteros in 1997 and has played in four Ryder Cups — finishing on the winning side twice.

“I would love to be captain. That is something that every player who competes in the Ryder Cup wants to do,” Jimenez said ahead of this week’s Hong Kong Open.

The next edition of the biennial team showpiece takes place at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota, and the flamboyant star, who won his 21st European title in May when he took the Spanish Open, was full of praise for McGinley’s captaincy.

“Paul was a great captain. He got very into each match. Being involved and helping him and the rest of the guys was an honour for me.”

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