Paul McGinley expects to feel humbled, as well as deeply honoured, when he steps on the first tee of the Irish Open to be introduced as Ireland’s first Ryder Cup captain.
The 46-year-old Dubliner is relishing the opportunity to return to his homeland to compete at Carton House (June 27-30) in a tournament which has been close to his heart since he made his debut as an amateur in 1989.
McGinley, who in January was handed the responsibility of trying to help Europe retain The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland next year, cannot wait to join the all-star cast of Major Champions and Tour winners taking part in what he believes has become one of the premiere events on The European Tour Schedule. His inclusion in the 2013 field ensures that the ‘Famous Five’ of Irish golf — Darren Clarke, Pádraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and McGinley — will all be on centre stage at Carton House in June.
“It is obviously a tournament I always look forward to with an immense amount of excitement and anticipation and one I always enjoy playing in,” said McGinley, who holds the privileged position of playing in three successful Ryder Cup Teams. “I’ve said on many occasions that the Ryder Cup captaincy is not just an honour for me, it is an honour for the whole of Ireland.
“I think Irish people are genuinely happy for me but they are also genuinely happy that an Irishman is the captain. You can see that in the reaction I get whenever I come home.
“With the success that Irish players have had around the world in recent years, too, the Irish Open really is now a showcase event on The European Tour and a chance for the Irish fans to see the number one player in the world in McIlroy, as well as our other Major champions of late — Harrington, McDowell and Clarke.
“We are in a very fortunate position now to have such a wide variety of talented players from our shores and it is an opportunity for us to showcase that to the world in our home country.”
It will be McGinley’s 23rd appearance at the Irish Open and he will be hoping to draw on the good memories of a tied third place in 2000 at Ballybunion and a tie for fifth at Baltray in 2004.
“I played really well at Ballybunion and at Baltray, too, and I just hope I can recreate a few of those memories when we return to Carton House.
“It would be special for me to go and compete for the title and get up there amongst the leaders. I’m anticipating big crowds there again this year like we had last year at Portrush and hopefully we will get good weather which will help swell the crowds even more.”
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