McGinley to impact Ryder Cup both as player and captain this weekend

paul mcginley
Getty Images
If European Ryder Cup Assistant Captain Paul McGinley wins in Gleneagles this weekend, he could knock a couple of other players off the team.
By
Mark Garrod
PA Sport

Series:

Published: Friday, August 27, 2010 | 11:10 p.m.

It promises to be an interesting weekend for Paul McGinley at Gleneagles, the place where he might well lead Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Six under par at halfway in the Johnnie Walker Championship, McGinley could be the man to stop Simon Dyson and Alvaro Quiros from qualifying for Europe's Ryder Cup team. They both have to win just to have a chance.

But that is not all. Between the final two rounds, McGinley will sit down with Colin Montgomerie and fellow assistant captains Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke to decide who gets the three wild cards.

"I've got private views, but I think they should remain private," said the Dubliner before admitting that it was "a shame" that his close friend Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey and Luke Donald have not crossed the Atlantic this week to try to make the side on points.

Edoardo Molinari and Justin Rose, 21st and 22nd in the world ranking, are also needing one of Montgomerie's three picks.

"Obviously, they are going to be extremely difficult,” McGinley said of the wild-card decisions. "I've talked to Monty quite a bit. He said he wants to have a big communication with his backroom team and he's been true to his word so far.

"Having said that, I don't know how much say we're going to have in the picks,” he added. "Certainly he's going to ask our opinions and we'd be a sounding board for him, but at the end of the day he's the one who will make the tough decisions. We're going to his house for dinner and then I'm sure we'll meet again come the final putt on Sunday."

The wild cards are being announced an hour after the tournament, where Dyson and Quiros are trying to force their way past Miguel Angel Jimenez or Peter Hanson for the last two automatic spots.

Harrington, Casey, Donald and Rose all stand accused of not supporting the European Tour as much as they could, and on whether at least one place should therefore go to someone who has, McGinley stated: "It's a very strong argument both ways, no doubt.

"It's a dilemma. It's a real dilemma. I can't say which way I lean. It wouldn't be fair for me to say. I don't want to say anything that's going to drag the attention away from Monty,” he added. "None of us has given a strong opinion yety. We've just thrown all the balls up in the air, plusses and minuses of each player. Nothing definitive.

"The ideal situation is if the boys had qualified. That's what we wanted,” he explained. "Padraig was a thousand euros out of the team before last week. Make up your own mind. It's disappointing -- Padraig is a world-class player, but he's in for a pick and by his own admission from what I've read he doesn't feel he has his schedule quite right."

After about the form of Harrington and Rose -- the former has not won a European Tour event for two years and both missed the cut in the last two majors -- McGinley said: "The old saying: Form is temporary, class is permanent and I think that applies to both of them."

There is also the matter of Lee Westwood's fitness to be determined yet. Europe's No. 1 hasn’t played since Aug. 6 because of his torn calf and might not play before Celtic Manor, where the first two days see morning and afternoon rounds.

"I don't think he's concerned he won't be 100 percent,” said McGinley, who was with Westwood in Portugal last week. “The medical advice he has is that he's going to be fine. He's so up for this Ryder Cup. He can't wait to get back."