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THE RYDER CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 21, 2013
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Paul, thank you, as always, very much for joining us.¬† Probably every week is busy for you at the moment but we are here because you have an announcement to make in terms of Ryder Cup and your selection criteria.¬† There was a press release, but I would like to hand the floor to you to explain what your criteria is and perhaps your reasons behind it.
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, thank you, Scott, and thanks everybody for coming.
It's something that after a lot of consideration and a lot of thought went into it and I looked at so many different areas and went through all of the statistics and the history of Ryder Cups and what worked, what didn't work, and along my heartfelt view, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Everything remained in place that Jos√© Maria had, his criteria, with one exception:¬† I will be having three picks rather than two.
So firstly, it will be four off The European Tour Order of Merit and five off the World Rankings, and then three picks.¬† And that is the criteria I feel is best coming to result in the strongest, hopefully the strongest players, in the European Ryder Cup next year.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Good to mention this week, as well, especially with BMW's relationship with Ryder Cup, being able to make this announcement this week.
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† It's great to be here at Wentworth and BMW are staunch supporters of The European Tour on so many different levels, and none more so than supplier of the Official Car at The Ryder Cup next year where they will have a big, strong presence like they had in the Olympics last year, and it's wonderful for them.
Q.¬† Why did you decide to take one player off the European points list rather than the World Points list, when The European Tour is struggling to get players to play, the biggest‑name players?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Good point.¬† Good point, and it's something that weighs heavily on me being a member of the committee; it is important and we need the players to play more often.
At the same time, my job here is to identify the strongest 12 players to represent Europe.¬† And it's not about the process; it's about identifying the top 12 players.
Like it or not, we have to acknowledge the fact that most of our players are now based in America, playing on the PGA Tour.¬† Although they obviously have to retain membership on The European Tour to play in The Ryder Cup, and I acknowledge that.
I feel that by giving myself an extra pick, it's a little bit of wiggle room and.¬† I've always said I like to tailor the team according to what the examination paper is and Gleneagles examination paper is going to be quite a different examination paper than Medinah was.
I think in the big scheme of things, it's actually going to help The European Tour more because I'm going to be watching very closely those three picks particularly.¬† Guys who are not in the Top‑50 in the world who do show a lot of form on The European Tour, they are going to rank very highly with a possible opportunity of a pick, and I'm going to watch that very closely.
With the structures that are there in place at the moment I feel this is the best way of achieving that where I can make that call at the end of the day.
Q.¬† When you went to Sawgrass, did you speak with players, and how much of a consensus did you get from them and did you go with three picks in your mind made up or was it an agreement?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I went there with that in mind.¬† I had done all the research and looked at all at analysis and I had counseled a couple of people that are important; you know, George O'Grady, for example.¬† And I talked to all the players at the TPC, yeah, one of the reasons why I was there.¬† There was 100 per cent agreement that this was the right way to go.
Q.¬† You and Tom have come to the same number of three; why do you think three is better than four or better than two, what difference does that make?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I think it's coincidence to be honest.¬† I know Tom went from four to three.¬† I'm not very familiar, to be quite honest, I'm not familiar at all with the American system.
Although I've watched what Tom did and been interested in what he's done, I haven't studied it and I don't even really know when the American points list starts.¬† I'm more concerned with us and our team and identifying the best 12 players.
I've looked over it and I feel, as I say, we have acknowledged the fact that most of our strong players in the Top‑50 in the world are based on the PGA Tour, and I want to get a combination of that and I want to get guys who are representing and playing The European Tour and playing well on The European Tour.
I want them to have an opportunity to make the team, because if you're not in the Top‑50 in the world, it's virtually impossible to make the team.¬† It's extremely difficult.¬† Edoardo Molinari in2010 had an incredible year on The European Tour, yet didn't make the points list and had to rely on a pick.¬† It's incredibly difficult to come from far behind.¬† I think that's a case in point where a pick was the right decision to be made.
Q.¬† Following up on my first question, did you consider increasing the number of tournaments people must play to be Members of The European Tour as an alternative?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† No, I didn't, and that's not my call.¬† That's the Tournament Players' Committee.¬† That's something that, you know, there's a balance that has to be done, and we can't push the boat out too far, as well.
But there's no doubt about it.¬† I would personally love to see the top players playing more and more on The European Tour.¬† And again, it's not my call and it's something that a tournament committee will decide on.
Q.¬† For want of a better players, it's a long thorny war being Ryder Cup Captain; is this where it begins, the first tricky one like this?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Absolutely.¬† Everyone has been so kind and nice so far.¬† It's been a great honeymoon period the last three months, but the real work started as we said it would be with identifying the criteria to pick the team.¬† It's never easy.
Ideally, I would love to be able to say I'm standing here and want to say I want 12 players off the European Order of Merit; and I know that's not practical or realistic, and I know I wouldn't have a strong enough team to win The Ryder Cup.
At the end of the day, my head will fall; it's on me and my decision, and you know, I've got to make a decision that's best for Europe, and I'm the guy to make that as the captain.
Q.¬† Colin Montgomerie asked for four wild card picks and got three; did you contemplate asking for four or five?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† No, I didn't.¬† I'm happy with three.¬† It was between two and three.¬† It was very much a case of not doing anything different than Jos√© Maria did or slightly tailoring it to give myself an extra bit of wiggle room.
The big determining factor for me was the fact that, as I said so many times, that I think the examination paper at Gleneagles is quite different than the examination paper was in Medinah, and I wanted ability to possibly tailor the team in that direction should I need to do so.
Q.¬† You said you did all at analysis; how far back did you go in terms of matches?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† 1979.
Q.¬† How many hours do you reckon you put into it?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† No, it wasn't that much hours to be honest.¬† It's an interest; I have a real interest in it whether it's‑‑ can't be considered work, but I'm interested, so, I don't know.¬† It's fun and I browse in and I browse out and I watch and I look.
But it wasn't a massively, analytical thing.¬† It was a good feeling, as well, too.¬† And as I say, it was a case of not changing it or tweaking it very slightly, and I've just done that.¬† I've just tweaked it slightly in my opinion.
Q.¬† In terms of captaincy advice, are you going back as far as, say, Tony or Bernard to ask what they did, or is that not relevant now, what happened in those years?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I think it's very relevant, by certainly all means I would love to have a chance with both of those two.¬† I know I've spoken with Bernard at length over the years.¬† He lives close by me in Sunningdale.
And Tony is another guy I've spent time with over the years and by all accounts both were tremendous captains.¬† Absolutely I'll be chatting with them in general over the next 12 months.
Q.¬† Any advice about team selection?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Just general, team events, managing players, what they did strategies, tactics, stuff like that.¬† There's a lot to be learned.
There's a lot to be learned in history, as well, too, and I've studied quite a bit of what's happened in previous Ryder Cups.¬† And by all means, as I say, just as a fan of golf, I'm interested in talking to Tony Jacklin, irrespective of Ryder Cup captaincy, and by all means he would be somebody I certainly would like to have a chat with, as would Bernard.
Q.¬† You talked about Gleneagles being a different exam to Medinah; can you expand on that a little bit, please?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† First of all, it's a home venue, end of September, beginning of October in Scotland.¬† We don't know what the weather is going to be like.¬† We are pretty sure what it was going to be like in Medinah in September.¬† It was going to be 70 degrees odd; it was going to be perfect ground conditions and it was going to be nearly five‑mile‑an‑hour wind, maximum ten.
We all know Gleneagles to be very different.¬† Possibly there could be waterproofs, possibly there could be rain, possibly there could be sunshine; we don't know.¬† And I have to be mindful of all those aspects when I'm tailoring the team, and this is why I feel I need a little bit of wiggle room to make sure that I can kind of lean the team in that direction with people who will be comfortable playing in all of these‑‑ in those elements should we come across them.
Q.¬† It is one of the longest waits in sport to go to work for you in the end, at what has become a very explosive event when it happens.¬† Can you just talk a little about your thoughts about that, and also, what it means, and what you can get from the fact that the Medinah team are together this week?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, first of all, I'll take the second part of your question first.
First, it's great that they are all here.¬† It's a huge thing, not just for me as a Ryder Cup Captain but for The European Tour, to gather the players all together, is very difficult nowadays because they are all on different agendas and different schedules, so it's a big deal.¬† I'd certainly, wearing my European Tour hat, I would love to see it happen more often, but it's not realistic and we know it's not going to happen.
And major championships are mostly played in America now and the World events, as well, too.¬† You have The Open Championship is the only one outside of Europe where they will all gather outside of this week probably.
It's tough.¬† It's tough.¬† It's a tough scenario.¬† But, having said that, as I say, this is why I'm very mindful of the World Rankings being a big indicator of what the team will be.¬† We have to acknowledge that fact.¬† In terms of the long wait, yeah, I'm as excited as you are and everybody else is.
I think the fact that it's every two years makes it so exciting as well, too.¬† It's not coming every year and we get used to it.¬† It's happening every two years and I think Gleneagles will be different.
And I've been involved now quite a lot in the staging of The Ryder Cup.¬† I understand a lot of what goes into making a Ryder Cup happen now.¬† Before, I only understood what kind of happened inside the ropes and surrounding the team and now I'm seeing the whole mass of scale of staging such a massive event.
I've learned so much from The European Tour and the staging people how they go about things, and even things like clothing, which I have a meeting with this afternoon, and the detail that goes into that and the amount of meetings that go into that.¬† It gives me a much bigger appreciation of the dedication and professionalism that goes into making it.
It just doesn't happen because it's 24 players playing golf, great; a lot more goes into it than just that.¬† It's been a great learning process so far, and I'm sure it will be the next 14, 15, 18 months, whatever it is now.
Q.¬† How far down the World Rankings or any rankings would you consider selecting someone as your third pick, and would you also consider a rookie, someone who burst on the scene in a couple of tournaments possibly next year?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, on both of the questions, the answer is yes; I will go down as far as need be.¬† If there's a guy showing form who may have been injured for a year, for example, and all of a sudden he's come back with three months to go and lost his World Ranking position and plays great, by all means; form counts, as we all know and so I'll be watching form very closely.
It's one of those things that I want to have those three picks I feel so that I can‑‑ somebody on The European Tour who is not qualifying to play in with the massive World Ranking points and massive Order of Merit points that are available by being in Major Championships and World events, performing well in a European Tour events week‑in, week‑out is going to be very instrumental, too; particularly to somebody who has got maybe a history around that golf course or somebody who is used to playing in those conditions.
All of those things, they are not the main requisites in terms of making a pick, because I don't know where I'll be with everybody else; and I certainly don't want to pigeonhole myself into saying I'm going to pick this guy for this reason, far from it.
But like saying about Bernhard Langer who had a great Masters, if Bernhard Langer wins the Masters and wins an Open Championship, my attitude would be:¬† Wonderful, I'd love to have him on the team.¬† But let's see him playing a few more events on the PGA Tour rather than on the Champions Tour and see where he's at and then we can make a call after that.
By all means I want to keep all my options open whether it be Bernhard Langer or a young rookie coming through in his first year on Tour, explosively comes on to the scene.¬† I'm not ruling anybody out.¬† That's one reason why having three picks, I'm keeping my eye on all of those things.
Absolutely, I don't rule out anybody, a young rookie ranked 1,000th, 500th, start of the year.¬† I don't know what Edoardo Molinari's ranking was at the start of the qualification process in 2010, but he made the team.¬† So it's very feasible, it is possible; it's a long shot, but it is possible.
Q.¬† As well as sorting out the wild card picks and the players you spoke to about that, what else did you learn from Sawgrass, apart from the fact that Tiger Woods is playing quite good golf?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Oh, I learned so much.¬† That was my second event ever working as a TV analyst with SKY there, and I really enjoyed it.¬† My first one was in the Dubai World Championship last year.¬† In fact, that's probably another place where we would have the 12 Ryder Cup players assembled.¬† And I learned a huge amount watching Rory last year win that event.
I've captained Rory before, played with him a number of times but to watch him for the four days as I did sitting in the TV box and not commentating, because I had to watch what was going on.¬† But it was a huge learning curve for me about Rory, his game and where he was at.
I think the same could be said for the TPC and Sawgrass.¬† That was a big learning curve for me.¬† As I said to a couple of people, it's the first, second time out to Dubai last year that I'd ever been to an event that I wasn't emotionally attached either from being a player, vice captain or a captain.
As a lover of golf and a lover of sport, I could stand back a little bit and watch it in a little bit more clinical way, and I certainly learned a lot about‑‑ certainly a lot, in terms of my own golf, I liked the way Tiger went about his business.¬† I was most impressed with the shot‑making and the course management that he showed, just for one.
And also Sergio, as well, too, and how well Sergio played.¬† I know he didn't win the tournament but for 70 holes he played magnificently, too.¬† I hope to do a little bit more of that over the next two years, and it's a big thing for me to be able to analyse and see the players in that cold, clinical way.¬† I think it's an important factor.
Q.¬† About Sergio, what's your reading of the last two holes?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, reading of the last two holes was, he went for it.¬† Went for it on 17, and the debate is, you know, should he‑‑ I think I quoted on TV the old song, 'you have to know when to hold 'em and know who to fold 'em,' and he went for it.¬† He went for winning the tournament on the 17th hole.¬† I think a few years ago when he won that tournament, correct me if I'm wrong, but he hit it into two or three feet on that hole in a playoff to win.
So it worked for him in the past.¬† It didn't work for him this time, and he paid the price.
Q.¬† Something else happened at Sawgrass between Tiger and Sergio; can you just talk about that relationship how The Ryder Cup doesn't really need anymore edge, does it?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Listen, sport loves an edge, there's no doubt about it.¬† We all love an edge, as long as it doesn't cross the boundaries.¬† I don't know Tiger particularly well.¬† I know Sergio reasonably well.¬† And it's like any form of life, whether it be everybody in this room or whatever workplace you're in or The European Tour or the players on The European Tour, whatever the case may be.¬† There's going to be a clash of personalities everyone now and again, and it happens.¬† It's just part of life.¬† That's the way I view it.¬† It's not big drama.
I haven't spoken to Sergio and I certainly won't do; it's none of my business.¬† It's his personal stuff and it is what it is.¬† So I haven't really gotten involved and I won't get involved.
Q.¬† So you won't go looking for a draw‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† No, I won't go looking for a draw.¬† If you look back through history, historically through golf, there's always been fallouts between players, as well, too.¬† When you are in such a competitive environment as professional golf is, there's always an implication of fallouts whether it be golf or rugby or soccer or any sport you want to pick.
It's just one of those things in life and I don't make too big of a deal out of it to be honest.
Q.¬† Do you want the match to have an intensity?¬† Do you want it to be‑‑ both teams to be really fired up, because with so many players playing in America now, they are all friends on the range, is the intensity level going to drop?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I want it to be as passionate as possible, as passionate at humanly possible.¬† That's one thing The Ryder Cup has and other events might not have is that passion and adrenaline.
I remember distinctly standing onthe fifth hole in Medinah the first morning with Jos√© Maria Olaz√°bal.¬† We were leaning against the cart and Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, I forget who they were playing on our team; but they walked by us, and Phil Mickelson, I've never seen him so up for a Ryder Cup, and Keegan Bradley's eyes had taken over his head, and you couldn't see his head through his eyes that day; I just thought, wow, these guys are fired up.¬† And that to me is what The Ryder Cup is about.¬† I thought, I remember turning to Ollie and saying, "This is going to be tough."¬† And he looked at me and he says, "You'd better believe it."¬†¬†
So right there in that moment, that was a time it really hit home how fired the Americans were to win that cup.¬† For me, that's what the Ryder Cup is; and I love that and I love that passion and I'm going to encourage that passion as much as I can.
Q.¬† How can you do that?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I have a number of ways.¬† (Laughing mischievously).¬† I have a number of ways.¬† Tom Watson is a very dignified man and he will be a very a opponent.¬† And there certainly won't be anything from my side, certainly anything relating to being untoward.¬† But at the same time I'm all for passion and all for excitement that the Ryder Cup bring.
Q.¬† Just getting back to your three picks, you can't say to players, play at Gleneagles in the Johnnie Walker; obviously you can't do that.¬† How important do you think it is that they know the course, and perhaps this is a chance for one of the three picks to make a move there, make a name for himself?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† All I can do answering that question is to say that there will be a number of reasons as to how I'm going to go about making the three picks.¬† And one of the criteria will be history on the golf course, how many times they have played it, and you know, if they won or performed well around it.
I'm a great believer in horses for courses, and if that‑‑ that is certainly going to be one of the criteria.¬† Not the most important, not the least important, but there will be a number of criteria I can use, so the answer to your question is yes.
Q.¬† There's a real buzz around the place, I'm sure you've been stopped left right and center; do you feel there's a buzz that the Ryder Cup players are all here, and does that reflect what The Ryder Cup means to European fans?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, it does, very much so.¬† We all love The Ryder Cup.¬† I've been watching The Ryder Cup since, as long as I can remember, and there's no doubt about it.¬† Medinah was a different level than anything we had before, and not just in the golfing sense but a complete sporting sense.
It was just, wow, it was up there, and on the back of the Olympics that was so successful, I didn't think we could get anywhere near matching the Olympics, and in a lot of ways, probably we didn't match the Olympics but I tell you what, we came really close.¬† It was incredible.
I just saw Ian Poulter there briefly this morning, I was up in Sunningdale having a coffee and he was doing a company day there today.¬† The minute he walked anywhere near the clubhouse, he was just engulfed with people, and rightly so.¬† Because you know, say it again, he won that Ryder Cup for us.¬† He dragged us up from our bootstraps when we were on the floor on that Saturday night and that's what people remember.
That's what makes it so passionate and that's what makes such an affinity with him with the people is that he did it, not just for himself and for the teammates and for the captain, but he did it for the people of Europe, as well, too, and created what was an unbelievable Sunday.¬† Without him we would not have had an opportunity to come back on Sunday.
Q.¬† Following up what you said about the criteria for wild cards, would one of the criteria be how much players have played and supported The European Tour during the year or effectively reducing the numbers from the European list, are you admitting defeat in that regard?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Not admitting defeat and far from it.¬† There is a minimum number of players The European Tour players have to play in order to be a member of The Ryder Cup Team.¬† I can't foresee a situation where any of the players would jeopardise that.
But the point I'm trying to make with the picks, as well, is those who are not fortunate enough to be in the Top‑50 in the world and in the World events and in the major championships, they are going to really be behind the 8‑ball in terms of making the team, because there's so many World Ranking points available at those tournaments and so many points available.
So what I'm trying to say to the rest of the people that are not in that Top‑50 is you play very well in the European rank‑and‑file European Tour events and perform well week‑in and week‑out and keep showing your form.¬† I know how high that level is, somebody who shows a lot of form on The European Tour that's going to weigh very heavily in terms of being a potential pick.
I don't want anybody to kind of think, oh, I'm not in the Top‑50 in the world, I can't make The Ryder Cup Team on The European Tour.¬† Far from it.¬† We have a huge depth of talent on The European Tour and a lot who are well capable of playing for Europe in The Ryder Cup, and I want to encourage them to say, look, I might not make it on points, but you know, there is three picks and I'm going to play my heart out on The European Tour, and hopefully, you know, influence the captain to possibly make me as one of their picks.
So it's a balancing act of the World Rankings guys being looked after and the guys playing The European Tour looked after as well, too.
Q.¬† You say it's difficult to get on the team if you're not in the Top‑50 in the world; how would you rate the chances of someone like Martin Laird who will not become a Member of The European Tour until January to get into that team playing catch‑up with the rest of the guys?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, he's got to play catch‑up.¬† He has chosen not to take his membership up on The European Tour this year and there's consequences unfortunately for that.¬† The consequences are the first three months, September, October, November, and whatever part of December we have, don't count; and so he is starting behind the 8‑ball and he's got to go really, really fast if he wants to make the team.
He knows that, and I spoke to him at the TPC and he's very keen to make the team and very proud of his Scottish heritage and background.¬† His mum and dad travel out to America quite a bit to see him and they are as Scottish as you can get.¬† I think he's a guy who is certainly focused on being on the team but he's realised he's given himself a big uphill task by not taking up membership next year.¬† He knows he's going to have to play really well next year.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Paul, thanks very much.¬† Good luck this week.
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