Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley will consult his potential team members on course set-up after 80 players broke par in the opening round of the Johnnie Walker Championship.
McGinley was among those in red figures after a four-under-par 68 on the Centenary Course, which will stage the biennial contest next year, left him just three shots behind joint leaders Bernd Wiesberger and Ricardo Gonzalez.
The 46-year-old dismissed the notion of qualifying for the team himself but will canvass the opinions of those in line to do so before Europe defend the trophy won in such dramatic fashion at Medinah last year.
“The jury is still out at the moment, but it’s been a huge learning curve to go to the other end of the scale in terms of the set up of the golf course this week,” McGinley said.
“I lost a ball with my second shot into the 15th last year and I was probably three yards left of the green. This year it’s good rough, but not unplayable. I don’t know which way we’ll go yet, but it’s good to get both perspectives.
“It’s hard for me to make decisions at the moment and I won’t until next April anyway, because there’s not going to be any growth over the winter.
“By April a lot of the team will be in place and I will be able to ask those players what they kind, what kind of set up they would like.
“It’s about what suits us rather than what doesn’t suit the Americans. I’m more concerned about our players. The run-off areas around the greens and the rough not being as severe suited me, but whether it suits the players in the Ryder Cup is another story.”
McGinley said the “chances were slim” of him making a fourth Ryder Cup team as a player when he was appointed captain in January, but was more emphatic after an opening round containing five birdies and just one bogey.
“To be honest I think I won’t even have myself on the points list,” added the Dubliner, who holed the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002 and also played in the record victories in 2004 and 2006.
“If I start playing well it’s a big bonus but one thing is for sure, there’s no way I can be a playing captain. Let’s put it in perspective, I’ve had a good round today but I’ve had a mediocre season, probably a poor season, to be honest so far.”
On a crowded leaderboard, Austria’s Wiesberger – who lost a play-off here two years ago – and Argentinian Gonzalez held a one-shot lead over Spain’s Ignacio Garrido, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, Australian Brett Rumford and English trio Mark Foster, Ross Fisher and Oliver Fisher.