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October 1, 2014

Paul McGinley


STEVE TODD:  Thanks for joining us at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
We'll touch on the tournament in a moment, but it's all of 48 hours since you've had a press conference.  So wondered if you could bring us up to speed on if you've had a quiet moment to reflect on the goings on of last week and just absorb everything.
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, we went back Monday afternoon, Ali and me and the three kids, and it was straight back into family life.  Niamh had to go back into school in a night, Killian, I was up at half six leaving him to school and the same with Maia.
It's been great.  People have been very, very sweet with their messages and incredibly nice things said about me and the team and a real sense of satisfaction.  It's been great but it's been quiet the last two days.  I haven't done much.
I tried to hit a few golf balls yesterday, did a little bit of practise which was really strange swinging a golf club again because it's been so long.  Been so long since I played a tournament.  Certainly out of practise but see what happens this week.
STEVE TODD:  To borrow a sporting cliché, back to the bread and butter this week, is this format perhaps the perfect one to get back in and ease yourself back in?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, I played well here last year.  I really enjoyed it.  I'm playing with Kyle McLaughlin again, we started playing together since 2001.  We've only missed one or twice, and he's become a great friend of mine and it's great to be able to spend that time with him.
For the backroom team and the vice captains last week, I also felt like we were representing every single player this week, every single Member of The European Tour and I know they got as much pleasure out of it as much as we did winning The Ryder Cup.  Nice to see some familiar face.  I'm reaction I'm getting from everybody, coming up from Heathrow airport, people are coming up to me and saying:  "Thank you, thank you," rather than congratulations.
That to me summarises everything I want to achieve in The Ryder Cup and everything I wanted The Ryder Cup to be.  That sense of everybody feeling so connected with the team and we did a good job for them and that's what makes it so special.  If you won a tournament yourself, they would be saying congratulations.  But they all were saying thank you.
It came across great on TV and I think people got that sense of bonding that we had there as a team.  I watched the highlights on myself when we got back, with Killian, my boy, and the pictures were very, very strong in that sense.

Q.  From what you learned from the experience and what you learned over your entire Ryder Cup career, who do you think has the attribute to be the next captain?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, I obviously can't have a public opinion on that because we have‑‑ I'm part of the decision‑making process and I certainly can't show any favouritism to one over another.
To be honest, in terms of that, I'm still caught up on the euphoria of last week and haven't even got my head thinking around going forward, Ryder Cups or anything like that.  Over the next few months, I'll be gathering information and having discussions with people and forming opinions, but I can't make that public.  It wouldn't be right to make that public.

Q.  Any thoughts of taking The Ryder Cup to the Far East, Australia, New Zealand?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† No, I don't see any reason why it would should go.¬† Gleneagles was fantastic.¬† Everybody said it was going to be a logistical nightmare and I don't think it was.¬† I think it was a very successful one by all accounts, just speaking to the courtesy drivers and the people that were there, the public, they said it all worked great outside of the ropes in terms of hotels and getting on trains and park‑and‑ride and all of those things and that was good to hear, as well.¬† I can't think of any reason why we should send it over there.

Q.¬† If the PGA TOURsaid they would ‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:  It's not the PGA TOUR.  It's PGA of America.

Q.¬† If they had the best representatives in the Far East‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:  It is a point.  I don't think it's necessary in the immediate future.  Down the road I certainly wouldn't rule it out.  You never know what's going to happen in 15 years' time.  The world could be a different place, we don't know.
But I know the next edition is going to be in France and that's going to be absolutely awesome.  I know the guys who put the French bid together, put the French bid together well, and I listened to their ideas and how they are going to promote it.  Particularly on the back of a successful staging of a tournament like we had last week, I think France is going to be great, great for The European Tour and do The European Tour justice.

Q.  How excited are you to be able to throw yourself back into your own playing career, and is there a small seed of qualifying as a player in two years' time?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Oh, that's too much wishful thinking.  My game has not been up to the standard the last four or five years, I can see that.  I'm not going to go back and play a full schedule again.  I'm exempt next year and I can see myself playing 14 events on The European Tour 15, events.  That's what I would like to do, pick and choose.
I have a lot of things going on in different facets of my life and a very busy home and kids growing up and a wife I want to spent time with.  I'm in the twilight of my career, 47 years of age, 48 next year, and I'm very lucky, lucky to be coming off the back of a successful Ryder Cup, as well, too.  It gives me a great sense of pride for me personally, but I'm looking forward to playing again.
I love to play and that's the message I get to the players, the last message I gave to them on the Saturday night when we had that big, strong meeting on the Saturday night was listen, guys, I have enjoyed every minute of being a captain.  It's been an incredible honour, incredible privilege, and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
But nothing beats playing, and go and enjoy this Ryder Cup and enjoy walking to that first tee.  Yes you're going to be nervous but it's absolutely fun.  It a thrill and something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Somebody like Stevie Gallacher.  What a thrill, what a great thrill.  And to see the photograph of him in the newspapers on Monday morning with him and Rory, Rory wearing the kilt; that, to me, just summarised everything that I would like to think that we achieved as a team, that sense of bonding.
You could see they were so comfortable in each other's company, there was an element of fun, and there was an element of enjoyment in terms of Stevie had a drink in his hand and Rory had his kilt on. 
       And to me that summarised so much of what I wanted to achieve, to create a sense of bonding between the players that will last them forever and ever and ever.
I look at my dad, he's from a Gaelic football background in Donegal, and he would go to Donegal and I would go to the games with him sometimes.  And to see him meet a guy that he mightn't have seen for 20 years, 30 years, maybe 40 years, that he not seen that he used to play with; and immediately that bonding is straight there and they are sitting down and having a chat and reminiscing about old times.
I would love to think and would love to get my mind forward to see somebody like Stevie and Rory, in 50 years' time, having a conversation.¬† And that photograph‑‑ that's what I said to Stevie in the text.¬† That photograph will live forever, and it's something that just for me summarises so much about the week.

Q.  With that in mind, is it difficult to let go?  Is it difficult to have to let go in the days afterward?
PAUL McGINLEY:  We haven't let go yet to be honest.  We're still texting each other.  And I've sent all the players and the backroom team a strong text, and I'm going to write to them all in the next few weeks when I get my head together and my thoughts together and everything and give them all a good letter, and also the caddies, as well, too, who were huge and the vice captains obviously.
We have not let go.  We are still basking in the glow.  Like I say, still stuck in the euphoria of last weeks and we'll enjoy this for a few more weeks.  There will be a time and a place when we let go.
And I'm 100 per cent convinced in my head that I am letting go.  So don't even raise the question that I'll be being the captain going forward.  That's not even an issue.  Same with the vice captaincy role.  I'm going to move forward from this gracefully.
But having said that, I'll be there for the next 20 years, 30 years, if they want to ask a question, and if they don't that's no problem, as well.  There will be no problem stepping aside.  But not quite yet.

Q.  Is this like a decompression?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Well, if I stayed at home, Crockett would have me doing media all week long (laughs).
Everybody tells me how great everything went at Gleneagles, and I would say, thanks very much.
But I love playing the game of golf.  I love playing it.  I love playing with people that I like, and there's a lot of business people and sports people that I've been fortunate to meet over the years in the Dunhill.
You're right, in some ways this is the perfect event to follow The Ryder Cup.  Doesn't have the intensity of a normal event.  And there's more room, things are spread out, and there's much more variety of people coming together.  So I'm doing it just as a sense of it's any week, back to play golf again, and I enjoy playing golf.

Q.  Talking about your backroom staff and your vice captains last week, you spoke a little about Des Smyth and his role as the fifth vice captain.  Did you have a particular role in mind for all the other vice captains, as well?
PAUL McGINLEY:  They were all chosen very, very carefully for different reasons.  The roles of the vice captains last week were massive for me because all along, I had planned that I would be half a day ahead of what was actually happening.
I had a skeleton plan in place, as I said from the start of the week, which turned out to be about 80 per cent in terms of the pairings that went on.  And I thought my job was not to be a cheerleader out there for the players, and I told them that for the very first meeting and my job was to plot our next move as a team, wave after wave of attack.  And I was plotting that next wave, and once that wave was underway, I was plotting the wave after that and the wave after that.
I had very precise roles for all the vice captains.  The fifth was a huge part of that.  We talked about a fresh wave coming out, if we don't hit with the first wave, we hit with the second wave.  If we don't hit with the second wave, we hit with the third wave.  If we don't hit with the third wave, we hit with the fourth wave, and then into the singles and same thing.  And if you see red on the board you're not to panic or worry, there's another wave coming behind, and if there's more red, don't worry about it.
There was a real sense of not panicking and they are coming at them strong, one after the other, one after the other.¬† The vice captains had a massive role in that.¬† Because if I had my skeleton plan and I'm thinking about the afternoon sessions‑‑ to give you an example, a very quick example.¬† Jamie and Lee were getting beaten and they were 4‑down when I approached Sam on the‑‑ I don't know which hole it was, on the Saturday morning when they were getting beaten and beaten badly, and I had them in the previous afternoon having won the previous day in the foursomes.
I came up and said Sam, where are we, I had been plotting and not seen the scores:  Have they lost the dynamic; what's the body language; where is the golf at; how are they playing, all of these things that you would ask.  And Sam just looked at me and said, "Americans are playing great."
How is the body language; the guys, they up for it, where is their energy level.¬† Yeah; yeah; yeah; straightaway‑‑ and that was Sam, who‑‑ that's why it was so important to have guys that I really could trust and that I knew that could read the game and read the players.¬† And because of that endorsement from Sam, out they went the afternoon and they went and won their game.
The same with the fifth vice captain.  I just saw the look in Lee and Jamie when they walked on the tee.  And the first afternoon, looking in their eye, I knew straightaway, fifth vice captain has come into play here.  These guys are ready.  This was the second wave coming in and they were fresh.
The four guys who were not playing, that was Des the first day, it was José the second day; and they had breakfast, met for breakfast around half nine or so.  Didn't want them on the first tee if they could help it, burning up energy.  Have a lie in, have some breakfast together and go and play a few holes.
And I was able to get on the radio to Des the first day, Ollie the second day, how is everything, what have they done; more endorsement of the plan and I moved on to the next stage.
So that was really it.  Miguel, as well, too, another guy out on the golf course, as well, obviously, and Pádraig that I relied heavily and went up to them even though they might have been losing their games.  Pádraig was huge with the Victor and Graeme dynamic, and he kept smiling and telling me about the body language and what they were doing and that was even more endorsement for me.
Miguel is a guy I trust implicitly.  He's been there going back to Seve.  He's seen it all.  They were picked very, very carefully.  And I know I talk about, I see it evolving and moving it out, and I did kind of change things a little bit in terms of the fifth vice captain, but I do feel that we had a benefit from that.

Q.¬† Tempted to ask if you need to wear a vest on a sunny day in St. Andrews but that would be unfair‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:  I don't know what all the fuss is about that.  I do it all the time.  These compression vests, I wear it all the time.  That's what we do.

Q.¬† Will the next captain have to ask you to get the information‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:  No, they are all personal notes and all kind of notes that I've kept on pairings and partnerships.  I have a Filiofax, as well, too, which is the evening one.
So the notes that are taken during the day, I take them and put them into the Filiofax which I had a file on each player that has been collected over the last two years, as well as my vice captain's role as well as my two captaincies in the Seve Trophy.
So the players that would have been in the Seve Trophy, when I was captain, those notes would have been transferred into that file that I had on each player.  So I was able to refer back to conversations, refer back to situations that may have happened in the Seve Trophy and say, remember this, do you remember this happened, do you remember this, remember you said this to me.  And it was just a sounding board, really, and those notes are a sounding board for me to go at; that's where I want to go.  Where if I want to say something to a player, I look back and see what conversation we've had in the past and go, there we go, mention that.
It's like what I try to do all the time was to have continuity and it just wasn't an idea cooked out of here, whether it be a visual or video or something I have from my notes; there was history; there was layers.

Q.  Can you give us an insight to how many congratulatory messages you've had and any special ones?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I don't want to pick anybody out, to be honest.¬† I've had so many as you can imagine, e‑mails, text messages, e‑mails to my business.¬† There's all kinds come through and it's been incredibly humbling, I have to say, really, really humbling and the nice words that people have said.
But when‑‑ today summed it all up going through Heathrow airport, the amount of people that stopped me, and they said the words "thank you."
When I went home on Monday not having watched the TV all week‑‑ I didn't watch the TV any time.¬† I didn't have time for a start but I didn't watch highlights or anything.¬† When I went home on Monday and the girls were off doing their things and getting ready for school, Killian said, golf is on, the highlights are on, how The Ryder Cup was won.
So I went in and sat with them for half an hour, and watching that for half an hour, having not seen it all‑‑ when you're in the middle of it all, you're aware, but you're not watching as much as people at home obviously were in terms of the hours.
But straightaway, I got that sense of bonding, and I looked in the TV pictures, and I could see the players' body language with each other.  I could see the way they were hanging out and hugging with each other.  I could see the way they were communicating with each other.  I could see the caddie involvement, the vice captains being part of it.  I could see the crowd interaction.
And all of the things that I had not seen during the week, because I was so stuck in management mode, that half an hour of watching the highlights was probably the most emotional I've been all week, because that to me was‑‑ that for me was confirmation of so many things I wanted summed up there in that half an hour of highlights, and that was just it, we nailed it.¬† We nailed it.¬† We nailed it as a team, that sense of bonding that the players had for each other.¬† I could see it.
I wasn't anywhere near the pictures, nothing to do with me.¬† This was about them with each other.¬† That was probably‑‑ watching that with Killian for half an hour was probably the most emotional I was all last week.

Q.  Probably a bit early to ask you, but you said that there's nothing like playing, and you're going to be playing a bit more next season.  Would you consider like another Ryder Cup cap tin playing the Champions Tour?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I don't know to be honest.  At this moment in time, I love playing golf.  I love being the captain, as I said.  Nothing beats playing this game, and being around the people you've been around a long time, your peers and business people and sports people you meet in the game.  It's a game that's been incredibly good to me personally.
Maybe I haven't reached the heights of winning major championships, but what it's given me in the sense of friendship it's given me with so many players; and the sense of bonding I've had particularly through The Ryder Cup is having very few people in life get the privilege to enjoy.  And I feel very, very lucky to be that way, to have enjoyed that experience.
I honestly don't know where I'm going to be in two or three years' time when I turn 50.  Am I going to have it in my heart and go and travel to America and go away from my family and play 15, 20 tournaments a year?  Again, where are my businesses going to go, and the extracurricular activities that I have as a person and a husband and a dad.
With all of my connections back in Ireland and my people back in Ireland, I don't know what direction life is going to take me.  But everything in the next two years will be a combination to the age of 50, and whatever is in my heart at 50 is where I'll go.

Q.  Did you have a fear coming into this Ryder Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I didn't have a fear.  I had goals but I honestly didn't have a fear.  The Ryder Cup is something that's been very, very good to me.  All I have is positive emotions with it.
I knew what I wanted to do as captain.¬† I was hitting the ground running and I had lots of experience.¬† I proved myself as a captain to myself more than anybody; I proved it to myself that two editions of the Seve Trophy I did as captain on my own, no vice captains, just on my own where I inherited two teams that were heavily, heavily under‑dogged on both occasions.¬† And both times we won and won relatively comfortably.
And the reaction from the players who played in those teams, what they said to me, what they wrote to me, that confirmed to me in my own head that maybe I do have something here to be a captain.  I really enjoyed the experience.  I really felt the sense of bonding to every player that played in the Seve Trophy.
And moving on to the vice captains and The Ryder Cup, Colin Montgomerie and José Maria Olazábal could not have been better or more inclusive of me personally in both of those Ryder Cups and I'm so grateful for that.  They kept me included in everything, and I'd like to think I did the same with the vice captains last week.
I never made a decision without the vice captains knowing first before anybody.  I never went off on a tangent.  We were all on this together.  We were all pulling.  Those guys played a massive role for me last week, those vice captains.
To answer your question, honestly I didn't have a fear.  I had a real clear idea of what I wanted to achieve more so than a fear.

Q.  And I wanted to share with you an observation of an American who has been to an awful lot of these Ryder Cups, and it was Saturday morning, and he said, as two of your players were walking to the see, he said, "Look how close they walk to each other."  

Q.  Was he reading too much into that or is there some truth to that do you think?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† There's truth in that.¬† I think it's just a point that I'm making earlier about that sense of bonding that the players‑‑ and when I watched the TV highlights, it all became clear to me.¬† That, to me, was just, that‑‑ to me, was the equivalent of lifting the Cup on the stage on the Sunday night.¬† That was the win/win, to create that bonding.
And when I saw, that, that's natural.  That's not forced.  I didn't tell the guys to walk beside each other.  I didn't say, you guys walk close together to the first tee.  I didn't go through all that.  That's a consequence of doing other things.
And as I say, going back to my dad and Donegal, I see him now and I see‑‑ I always used to envy so much him and how immediately when he would see somebody he might have went to school with or played football with, that immediately, immediately that sense of closeness came.
And I really would like to think that‑‑ Stevie and Rory, that picture just got it, that summarised it for me.¬† Stevie and Rory live different lives.¬† Rory is in a stratosphere nobody is close to.¬† Stevie is a local boy who has had an incredibly great year and to make The Ryder Cup Team‑‑ he was on a high playing The Ryder Cup, and there he was with the superstar that Rory McIlroy was or is, and the two of them were so comfortable in each other's company.¬† That's special.

Q.  With the strength of emotions that you felt watching those TV highlights, were there tears?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† There weren't tears, no, but very strong emotions, very, very strong emotions to be watching it with my son and I was trying to explain to him‑‑ I was trying to explain to him, this is what it's about.
It's not Rory McIlroy hitting it 340 down the middle of the fairway, although that does help.  This is what The Ryder Cup is really about.  Just look at the way they are celebrating with each other.  Look at the way we are talking to each other.  That sixth sense between people, that's natural.  That's not forced.  Nobody's told them to stand together and show solidarity with your teammates, guys, no.
Another story somebody told me, a friend of mine who was there, a friend of mine who was there on the ninth hole, I think it was the ninth hole he said, maybe the 10th.¬† I walked down the first two holes with‑‑ when the last match went off, Victor, I just had to keep an eye on Victor.¬† He was a rookie playing in his first singles matches.
And I had gone through the night before with all the players about what to expect, particularly the rookies.¬† It's a very lonely place, the singles.¬† And we're coming at them wave after wave after wave and they are very much part of the wave, particularly the guys down the bottom.¬† I remember I played Jim Furyk‑‑ Jesper told me this and I quoted Jesper Parnevik; I learned a lot from Jesper Parnevik in the team meetings.¬† He made a point at the 2002 meeting in the Saturday night, he said, "The singles is a lonely place, guys, be ready."
You have four matches going on, and I remember I played with Darren on the Saturday night in The Belfry.¬† We were the last game on the golf course.¬† There was 50,000 people, 45,000 people around that green as we finished.¬† It was incredible, incredible high.¬† We halved the game which made us level going into the singles.¬† We were basically carried back on a wave of emotion back to the team room.¬† Everybody was bear‑hugging.¬† Everybody was on such a high because now we were level going into the singles, which gave us a little bit of a chance because it was a very strong American Team.
So roll on an hour or two, we had this meeting and Jesper Parnevik made the point of saying, "Remember, it's a very lonely place tomorrow in the singles."¬† You don't have your partner on your shoulders and you don't have your partners's caddie on your holder.¬† It's a very, very different environment.¬† Be ready for it and recognise it and don't be over‑awed, because what happens, as the games at the top finish, the crowds come back to you.¬† So your game will be important.¬† So hang in, hang in, hang in.
And I remember playing Jim Furyk in the singles, go the to the third green where there was 50,000 people the night before, got to the third green and I counted there was 24 people around the green and immediately I had that real sense of isolation and loneliness.  And immediately, I thought of what Jesper said, and immediately, I thought, yeah, now I recognise it.  Now I understand it.
So all of a sudden I was off and running again.  We mentioned that on the Saturday night.  I mentioned that on the Saturday night in the meeting.  And I was conscious of Victor playing 12 and being isolated from everybody else and feeling he was not part of it.
Walked down the first hole, he had a halve.  Second hole, walked down, not beside the shoulder with him, but made sure he knew I was there.  And he come over to me and he said, "This is very different without Graeme."
I said, "Remember, this is what we spoke about last night Victor, remember what we spoke about, the crowds will come back.  Hang in, I'm going to you walk a few holes with you.  Don't worry about it.  Pádraig is going to follow you, as well, too.  We are all there for you."  And he was off and running.  And.
I got on the radio then and I said, right, Graeme's match was getting close to being finished, and I said, "Immediately when Graeme finishes, he's got to get out to Victor and follow with Victor."  I can't stay with Victor the whole time.  There's other guys I need to see, as well, too.
So this friend of mine told me the story‑‑ I'm getting to the point now‑‑ on the 9th or 10th, Graeme came running up the fairway, actually running up the fairway, underneath the crowd, through the crowd, to get on Victor's shoulder.¬† Again, there's that sense of bonding.¬† That's that sense of bonding.¬† That was natural.¬† That was natural.¬† All he had to do was guide him in that direction, and he was off.¬† He did the rest himself.

Q.  What was it in your upbringing that made such an organised fellow now?
PAUL McGINLEY:  My wife wouldn't say I'm organised.  I've always done my own thing.  As a professional golfer you have to learn to be quite selfish and do your own things in your own way and it can very hard to make that switch into captaincy for that reason.  We have to be so selfish and structured and organised.
I've certainly made a conscious effort the last two years to have all my ducks in a row every single way and to hit the ground running.  My captaincy at Gleneagles didn't start last Monday.  It started five years ago.  It started with my education when I was a player right through to my Seve Trophy vice captains or Seve Trophy captains and vice captains, as well, too.  That was all part of the work that I put in in order to hit the ground running last Monday.

Q.¬† But the notes, did you do them as a player before‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah.¬† I've always kept notes, mental and physical notes on my golf swing; and things that Bob Torrance would have told me; and little mental things that I did when I played well and mistakes I may have learned‑‑ may have made and not to make them again.
I always kept notes and I still have those notes right back to the writing that I wrote them in.  That's in the Filofax, as well, too.

Q.  In the States, from what I was watching last week, it seemed that there was a real difference between what you and Tom had done, and yours was really a management style and would almost seem like the Harvard Business School would do a case study on this.  My question is:  Where did you get this from?  Did anyone teach you that?  Did anyone talk to you about that, the sense of creating a community of bonding.  What was the source of that?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Well, thank you for that.  I mentioned it a lot in the last two years and I think regulars like Jamie here in the front row would understand a bit about Gaelic football but that's where it comes from.
In Ireland we have a sport called Gaelic football and hurling.  Ireland has 32 counties and you can only play for the county you're born, no transfers, and it's an amateur game.  You get 80,000 people at the final stages.  That was my upbringing up to the age of nine.  That was my sport.  Golf was something I did in the summer for three months.
But Gaelic football is an incredibly passionate sport because you play for your people.  You grew up in a town or village and play for that town or village, and if you're lucky enough and go enough you go on to play for your county and you wear the county colours.
So you go and you represent your county, and the people watching you are the people that you grew up with, the people you went to school with, girlfriends, parents, cousin, aunties, that sense of community, is what happens in Gaelic football, and I have that sense embedded into me.
My dad used to play Gaelic football for Donegal.  I played Under Age a little bit for Dublin, never reached the heights.  I got injured and would have liked to think I'd reach the senior level for Dublin.  But that's embedded in me and ingrained in me that sense of belonging and that sense of bonding with people is very, very important for me and I've had it at a very young age.
STEVE TODD:  Appreciate your time.  Hope you enjoy the week.

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