McGinley issues Ryder warning

Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley has dismissed suggestions an American team full of rookies will make Europe’s defence of the trophy in September easier.

Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley has dismissed suggestions an American team full of rookies will make Europe’s defence of the trophy in September easier.

Playing on home territory at the K Club, following back-to-back wins at the Belfry and Oakland Hills, will probably make the Europeans favourites for the first time.

And the American team line-up currently containing the likes of JJ Henry, Zach Johnson, Brett Wetterich, Vaughn Taylor and Lucas Glover – all virtually unheard of on this side of the Atlantic – has only heightened expectations on the hosts.

However, McGinley stressed the Europeans would not be underestimating their rivals.

“The American (PGA) Tour is a very strong tour and if they have earned their spot they fully deserve it,” said the 39-year-old, who holed the winning putt at the Belfry in 2002.

“The great thing about the Ryder Cup is everyone has the same number of tournaments and the same way of qualifying, and those guys who are in line for qualifying are good players to do so.

“We certainly won’t be underestimating them in any way. One of the strengths of European teams over the years is they have had a lot of respect for them (the American players) and whatever team they turn out will be a very good team.”

In spite of that, McGinley is incredibly positive about Europe’s chances.

The Dubliner has played in the last two winning sides and is on course for a third successive appearance as he is currently sixth in the European points list.

But he is under pressure from the players below him and although that is bad for McGinley, he accepts it is good for the team.

“I’m certainly not counting my chickens. One of the reasons why we were such a strong European team last time was we were very strong one to 12 – which some European teams haven’t been in the past,” said McGinley.

“We have been very top heavy, relying on four or five players. But everybody won a point in the last Ryder Cup and it will be no different this time.

“We might not have the major winners of the past like Bernard Langer and Nick Faldo, who were multiple major winners at the time, but I think from one to 12 you will find we will be very strong – and I think that was the secret of our success at Oakland Hills.”

McGinley admitted there were certain players who knitted the team together.

“I think Sergio Garcia has been the big hero. His record is outstanding. I also think Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood have been stalwarts over the years and formed a very strong basis, Padraig Harrington too,” he said, speaking at the launch of TaylorMade’s new TP Red and TP Black balls.

“But the number one everyone looks to is Monty (Colin Montgomerie).”

Current Ryder Cup standings:

Europe:

1 David Howell,

2 Colin Montgomerie,

3 Jose Maria Olazabal,

4 Henrik Stenson,

5 Luke Donald,

6 Paul Casey,

7 Padraig Harrington,

8 Paul McGinley,

9 Sergio Garcia,

10 Paul Broadhurst.

Not automatically qualified:

11 Johan Edfors,

12 John Bickerton,

13 Kenneth Ferrie,

14 Thomas Bjorn,

15 Robert Karlsson,

16 Miguel Angel Jimenez,

17 Simon Khan,

18 Stephen Dodd,

19 Nick Dougherty,

20 Anthony Wall.

USA:

1 Tiger Woods,

2 Phil Mickelson,

3 Jim Furyk,

4 Chad Campbell,

5 David Toms,

6 JJ Henry,

7 Zach Johnson,

8 Brett Wetterich,

9 Vaughn Taylor,

10 Lucas Glover.

Not automatically qualified:

11 Davis Love,

12 Fred Couples,

13 Tim Herron,

14 Tom Pernice Jr,

15 Arron Oberholser,

16 Stewart Cink,

17 Billy Mayfair,

18 Brett Quigley,

19 Scott Verplank,

20 Jerry Kelly.

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