Mar 8 2013 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser
Paul McGinley admits his personal Ryder Cup track record will pile added pressure on his shoulders at Gleneagles.
Europe’s 2014 captain savoured three wins as a player - memorably being launched into a chilly pond at The Belfry in 2002 after nailing a 10-foot putt to sink Jim Furyk on the 18th - and followed it up as vice-captain to Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor and Jose Maria Olazabal at Medinah last year.
But after having his nerves shredded by “The Miracle at Medinah” the Dubliner, who is determined to bring a strong Scottish flavour to his captaincy, observed: “Of course my own Ryder Cup record brings pressure. But it also brings with it very favourable experiences that I have been fortunate to have as a player and a vice-captain.
“I am a realist. For the first two days at Medinah we were on the receiving end of a serious beating and but for Ian Poulter we were a beaten team on Saturday might never mind going into Sunday. We rose from the ashes. So I am very aware how quickly things can turn.
“Medinah was a great learning curve for me and for the rest of the team.
“We have won the last two cups by a point but we appreciate how close we came to losing.
“ I understand the margins between winning and losing can be so small.
“Fortunately Lady Luck has shined on us at the right time and we have got over the line.
“But I am well aware the line between winning and losing, between European and American golf, is very narrow indeed.”
The USA have turned to the legendary Tom Watson in a bid to turn the tide.
McGinley said: “Throw Tom Watson into the equation and it is going to be a really good Ryder Cup, there’s no doubt about that.
“The Americans will be formidable opponents and I am under no illusions about how tough it is going to be.”
Former skipper Sam Torrance is being widely tipped to play a key role in the 2014 backroom team.
McGinley stressed: “There are about 25 guys on my list, of which Sam is one. As we get closer I will narrow it down to probably four or five vice-captains that I think would be necessary.
“I don’t know how things are going to evolve over the next 12 months but Sam is a good friend of mine and I will be sharing a lot of questions with him and getting some guidance.
“He was a terrific captain to me and I am forever indebted for what he has done for me.
“Also the Torrance family are close to me. His dad has coached me my whole career.
“I have to make a decision what way I am going to go with vice-captaincy. Am I going to lean heavily on current players or am I not. Am I going to do a bit of both?
“All of those thoughts are at the back of my mind and I will bring them forward as we get closer and as the team starts to form.
“I would like a Scottish flavour to my vice-captains. When it was announced I was captain I said I would have a Scottish flavour to everything I did and I will have something in memory of Seve Ballesteros. I will hold true to those promises.
“There will be a flavour of Scotland and a flavour of Seve in what I am going to do during the week. To what level I don’t yet know.”
The practice range will be located on the first of the King’s Course for the duration of the Ryder Cup, with a tented village emerging on the current range.
“The people who stage the Ryder Cup are way ahead of the game.
“They have had this planned for a number of years.
“I’ve already learned a lot and I am continuing to learn.
“It has been fun. Everything I have seen so far looks just amazing.”
And if Team Europe lap-up another win in 2014, there happens to be a pond adjacent to the Gleneagles driveway. Would that be a source of concern?
“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. I didn’t go into the pond at the Belfry. I didn’t have an option. I was flung in!” laughed McGinley.