NEWPORT, Wales – European Captain Paul McGinley will take the first shot in his team’s 2014 Ryder Cup qualifying process on Thursday when he goes out in the opening group in the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor.
It will be the first time that a current captain of the European team has the honor of teeing up first in the opening qualifying tournament for the biennial match against the United States.
McGinley says "there are a lot of milestones along the way on the Ryder Cup captain's journey, and the start of qualifying is certainly a big milestone."
The Irishman has ruled himself out of appearing as a player in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland. However, he says "I am extremely proud to set the example for my prospective team members."
McGinley has been a popular member of several previous teams both as a player and vice captain, but insists his affable nature doesn’t mean he’ll shy away from the tough decisions that lie ahead.
"I've been very fortunate, I've been involved in five of the last six Ryder Cups, and we won all five that I was involved in (three as a player, two as vice-captain),” he said. “I've seen the template, I've seen what works and I just want to make that template better and roll it out again.
"I'll meet any challenges I have head on and I understand that not everybody is going to be in agreement with the decisions that I make."
McGinley also expects to see plenty of players push their case this week when he tees off at 7:20 a.m. alongside Q-School winner John Parry and Challenge Tour leader Espen Kofstad.
"I'm not afraid of having rookies on the team, and if those guys step up to the plate and play really well, I'll be delighted to welcome them to the team,” said McGinley. “Generally, all I'm concerned about at the end of the day is having the 12 strongest players to represent Europe at this time next year.
"Ultimately I'm looking for the guys who have played the best over the 12-month period and I have absolutely no hesitation about having rookies on the team or picking a rookie,” he explained. “Generally what I want is players who are playing the best.”