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September 25, 2014

Paul McGinley


GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, we've had the Opening Ceremony and parings are known, has the excitement gone through the roof in the team room, and also for yourself?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, no, certainly excitement has not gone through the roof. We are very controlled and got a big job ahead of us, and very, very respectful of America and how strong they are going to be. It's a mixture of a lot of experience and some rookies in the pairings tomorrow, kind of what we expected. But as I say, this is the first time I've actually looked at the pairings. I have not really studied them before now, and yeah, I see a lot of experience at the top and bottom and then three rookies in the middle two groups. But you know what, we are more concerned with our receives and getting our ducks in a row and ^ getting our house in order and getting our attitude and motivation right.

GORDON SIMPSON: Going into the first session of fourballs, Tom took us through some of the matchups there. Care to have a look there and see what catches your eye?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's obvious, talking about a template on their side, certainly they have a template with Bubba and Webb who have been very successful together in the past; and so have Phil and Keegan and he's gone 1 and 4 with them, and a very similar mind-set to ours, which is obviously, you know, in terms of World Rankings, guys that are very low in World Rankings at the top and bottom. And we have some experience there in the middle, as well, too, and we have got a rookie in there in Stephen, and obviously put him with a very experienced player in Ian Poulter.

Q. We've talked all week about the template, and you've come up with four new Ryder Cup pairings in that sense. Can you give us your thoughts on maybe one or two obvious or maybe not so obvious?
PAUL McGINLEY: Template doesn't necessarily mean the same. These guys all know each other very well. ^ and you move forward, two years down the road, a different view and take on things, and games have evolved in slightly different ways and guys become more experienced. Ian Poulter is a very experienced player now. There's going to be a big atmosphere in that group. Obviously Stevie being Scottish, and Ryder Cup being here in Scotland, it's going to bring a big atmosphere. We'll need a guy with a big attitude for that, and I think Ian Poulter fits that bill. Justin and Henrik spent a lot of time together at Lake Nona over the years, know each other very, very well, obviously there during the year. And you have Sergio and Rory who have formed a real bond and friendship and respect for each other's games, too, during the summer period. Things evolve and move. The template doesn't mean pairings have to be the exact same pairings.

Q. Ryder Cup experience aside, looking at our guys and the matchups, how do you think of their form against the American guys coming into the matchups?
PAUL McGINLEY: I haven't studied it much to be honest. Our players have played well in practise. They have enjoyed each other's company during the week. We've had one big meeting. We're going to have another one now tonight, and already there's been lots of communication and we've known pretty much early in the week where we are going. That was my idea at the start of the week and has not moved much over practise, as I've communicated with the players over the last four or five months, this is kind of the idea that I had in mind.

Q. You touched on the partnership of Stephen and Ian. Is that something you had on your mind for quite a long time, or is it something that you just came to the conclusion of this week? And was it important to get Stephen out in the first morning?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's great to get Stephen out, it was great to get him out first in the morning, and being Scottish, I think it's great to be on stage there and to be announced there on stage the first morning. It's always a thrill when you're on stage in the Opening Ceremony and your name is read out first in the morning, particularly important being a rookie. I had to get my ducks in a row knowing who the 12 players would be. I wasn't thinking this three months ago, but I certainly was in Turin, and he made it as one of the ducks, and where we were looking with Stevie, we have the 12 players in place, who will partner who in potential partners. I have in my mind, two or three players -- two or three players in a little bit of a group, a little bit like Paul Azinger has done in the past, and yeah, that's kind of where I'm going and that's kind of where we've been in the practise rounds.

Q. You touched on it a little bit, but was it when you saw Sergio and Rory sparking off one another in the major in America, they seemed to have such a great time, even though they were battling each other, and seemed to have such a great time doing it --
PAUL McGINLEY: As I say, I think there's been a friendship formed with them over the summer period. They played a lot of golf together. But the big reason is their communication with me. That's been the big reason.

Q. Tom Watson said that he'll play all 12 of his players tomorrow. I just wonder what your policy is on playing all 12 of your players tomorrow. Will you do that or wait and see?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's pretty much my plan to be honest. My plan is to get all 12 players out. I'm pretty confident of players 1 through 12, and my plan is to get all 12 out. But I wouldn't say it's written in stone, because you can never say never. You just have to watch and see and you never know what may happen in the morning. But my plan is to get all 12 out, yes.

Q. Can you just explain in a bit more detail the thinking behind sending Rory out fourth rather than first, for example? And are you happy, is he happy, playing against Phil Mickelson?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, yeah, I mean, I just looked at that now -- that's not a big deal to be honest. It's not a big deal. The bottom line is we need to get 14 1/2 point if we are going to win a Ryder Cup, and whatever we way we do it, we do it. He's in that position at the moment, but he may move during the week and he probably will move during the week but not in the first session.

Q. Since you've indicated there's a likelihood you might play all 12 tomorrow, that would mean that you play two of your rookies playing in foursomes and most people might think that would be a dubious. Can you explain why you think that's a good idea?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, we'll see tomorrow if I'm right or not. The two players have been very good in practise, two very consistent, and it's the afternoon session. I just felt that these guys are ready to play foursomes. Both of them have great years. Both of them have made the team quite comfortably, proved themselves to be among the ten, nine qualifiers quite comfortably and deserve to play the format that foursomes is in the afternoon. That's how I see it. I've gone with one rookie in the morning, and Tom has gone with three, and we'll see. This is what's great about The Ryder Cup. Everybody has different views and different ways of assessing things. We'll see, and you know, The Ryder Cup's not going to be determined tomorrow, and there will be decisions I'll get wrong as captain. That's what happens. I'm prepared for that. But I'd like to think that I'll be able to adjust things and go forward. But I'm confident I've made the right decision with putting those guys out in the afternoon and they will be out in the afternoon, and we'll take it from there.

Q. You spoke to, I believe, Graeme McDowell's heart. How difficult was it to leave him out of the opening fourballs, and can we expect to see him play with Victor Dubuisson tomorrow?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I'd love to have him out tomorrow morning. Graeme is a big player, playing very well with a big heart. Would love to be out tomorrow morning. He's a big player. He loves the big atmosphere. But there's a lot of big atmospheres between now and Sunday night, and there will be a time and a place for Graeme to play that big role.

Q. When you phoned Stephen Gallacher to tell him he had got a wild card, you told him his response was, "That's brilliant, wee man." Did he come up with anything else, and what qualities does he have that make him a good partner for Poults?
PAUL McGINLEY: He knows the golf course, and the very strong wind conditions in the morning that are forecast are right up Stevie's street, and he's proved himself being worthy of being one of the Top-12 players in Europe. So he just needs to go and be Stevie. Just go and be Stevie. He has a big atmosphere guy on his shoulder, and he'll enjoy the prospect of playing his first Ryder Cup match. Who wouldn't, with Ian Poulter on your shoulder playing at home.

Q. What sort of captain are you going to be on the course? Will you rush around like Seve used to do?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I won't be rushing around like Seve, I assure you that. I'll be watching and observing but my role is to stand back. Players take centre stage now. Players have always been centre stage but I'll be playing a lesser role. I'll be there and I'll be supporting and I'll be aware of what's going on, communicating with my vice captains, and adjusting to things that happen on the golf course. But I certainly won't be telling the players what club to hit like Seve was and how to hit the shot. I'm not as gifted as Seve in that way (laughter).

Q. When you said that the Sergio and Rory pairing had a lot to do with the way they communicated with you, and would you have seen that if they had not spoken to you?
PAUL McGINLEY: I probably wouldn't have seen it to be honest. My communication over the last few months, and the summer period, it was quite clear not just on the golf course but off the golf course theres with a real bonding going on. Statistics are very strong, they enjoy each other's company, and in a lot of ways, it was a natural fit. That communication has started, really -- they kind of raised it to me around BMW time in Wentworth, and I said, okay, let me think about that. To be honest, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to it, and it's only kind of the US PGA as they started talking to me more and more around Firestone, around that time, that my position became a little bit clearer. I thought, you know what, yeah.

Q. Are you surprised that Tom has gone with his three rookies first thing in the morning and the fact that he's paired two of them up together?
PAUL McGINLEY: Am I surprised? No. Tom is a strong captain with a strong -- a very strong golfing C.V. behind him. And he will be making really good decisions this week. Like I say, I'm going to get some decisions wrong. That's what happens. You can't get every decision right. I'm prepared for that but provided I get more decisions right than wrong, I'll be happy. We'll have to wait and see how that all evolves. That might be a genius move by Tom, might not. My ideas might backfire, as well, too, but that's what you do as captain, make your decisions, set out your stall, watch what happens and you adapt to what happens.

Q. First thing tomorrow morning, Bubba will be on the tee and he will most likely make the noise that he did before. Have you been chatting about how to counteract or how your players will mark that?
PAUL McGINLEY: We have not mentioned it to be honest, we haven't mentioned it. I've said before, I think that was pure theatre that he did in Valhalla. I was on tee when he did it. It was spontaneous. I wouldn't endorse it. I wouldn't want to see the players dealing with it every match. I'm a traditionalist at heart but I thought the time he did it was something special. He's out in the first match tomorrow, and we'll see. We'll see what happens tomorrow morning. But I certainly won't be telling the players what to do or what not to do. They are big enough and bold enough to make their own decisions regarding things like that.

Q. You said that now is the time for the players to take centre stage. Do you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders after the Opening Ceremony and you've made your first selections?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, the fun is only starting now. A lot ahead of us. They may be taking centre stage but I'll be working hard on the sidelines. I'm watching, evolving, I'm communicating and hopefully my experience will make some better decisions than worse ones. I have a lot of decisions to make over the next two days.

Q. Are you at all word about making wrong decisions, and as a follow, are you worried about anything?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, of course I always worry about everything, but like the players, go out tomorrow with no fear. I know I'm going to get things wrong. It's not a perfect science, this, it's not a perfect science. People make mistakes and we'll have to see, but I'm confident; I have a lot of experience, and I have some great experience and guys on my shoulder making decisions and pushing me in certain directions. And I ask them to punch holes in my ideas. That's what their role is, and we'll see. But you know, as I say I'm confident that I'll be making more right decisions than worse ones. So will Tom, he'll be confident he's going to make more right decisions than wrong ones. That's what you do as captain.

Q. Can you explain what your vice captains will be doing tomorrow morning?
PAUL McGINLEY: Like they have always done. They will be traveling on the golf course and watching their matches, observing, but obviously not getting involved. Four of them have been vice captains in the past, so that was a big thing for me. These guys know the ropes. They don't have to spend time taking in three or four new rookie vice captains and I was very aware of that. I hit the ground running with these guys because a lot of them I've worked with in the past.

GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, thank you very much.
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