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September 17, 2005

Paul McGinley


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, a great performance.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I'm obviously choked. It's great to be in the finals and be even greater to win it. I don't want a second place. I feel I've played well again today, a world class player again I was playing against. And again, I'll be the underdog again tomorrow playing the U.S. Open Champion who is obviously playing really well. I'm going to have to play really well to beat him.

Q. How crucial was your half on 14 this morning?

PAUL McGINLEY: Of course it was crucial, yeah, every hole is crucial. It wasn't a disaster if I had lost it. We had another 18 holes to go this afternoon. Of course it's crucial. It was like a bonus to be honest. It was like a bonus.

Having said that, I made a poor bogey on the previous hole on the 13th. You win some, you lose some, but I think the big key for me was my finish this morning, finish 4 3, 17 and 18 to go from 1 up to 3 up. Big difference going into lunch at 3, as opposed to 1 up. I needed my putt on 18 to get to that 3 up. That was very important.

I knew he'd come at me firing this afternoon. Ideally I would have wanted a bit more wind, but we had pretty benign conditions. It was lovely out there. I knew I had to play really well to beat him and fortunately I did.

Q. Did it help being the underdog?

PAUL McGINLEY: It didn't really matter that much. Obviously I was the last into the field, a bit of destiny, isn't it. But I'm going to have to really play well tomorrow. I'm playing the U.S. Open Champion. I've got to play as well as I've played the last three days to beat him.

Q. Do you feel like it's a dream?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, it's not a dream, no. Winning all four majors is a dream. Get things in perspective. (Laughter).

Q. At the beginning of the week did you believe that yopu would get to where you are now?

PAUL McGINLEY: Of course, yeah. Of course I did, yeah. I mean, I have won three matches against players I play against day in, day out and that I know I've played on previous occasions. I knew it was match play, which is a form of golf I enjoy, and you know, I'll say it again, there's so many good players in this field, everybody is capable of beating everybody. You know you've just got to play really well and fortunately I have.

Q. Apart from the obvious cheque, what would being The Match Play Champion mean to you?

PAUL McGINLEY: It would mean a huge amount but I don't want to go down that road too much. We'll talk about that tomorrow. We'll see what happens about that tomorrow and talk about that then whether I win or lose. As I said before, I've be quoted, and I'll say it again. It really dawned on me how big this title was on Wednesday night when I was at the players' dinner and I saw the list of champions. I mean, you're just talking major winner after major winner, household name after household name. There's a lot of esteem and a lot of tradition with this tournament, and I can see why now. I used to be on the outside looking in and now when I'm right in the middle of it I can see what it's all about. I mean, the crowds have been huge, huge crowds, a huge amount of interest. You know, match play is a good form of golf to watch. Everybody enjoys playing it and watching it.

Q. You hint at your frustration at your second place finishes?

PAUL McGINLEY: I'll say it again, there is a couple of occasions when I could have won and I should have won but there's more than 50 percent have been occasions where I've played damned good but somebody has played unbelievable to beat me. When you're playing a golf tournament, you're playing against 156 players and they are coming at from you all angles. When you've got the man on your shoulder and you can see in his eyes who your opponent is, it's slightly different.

On a lot of occasions when I've been in situations like that when I have lost or come second, it's been somebody coming up on the blind side of me. I've had a lot of second places, but I tell you what, I've been unlucky. A lot of times I play well enough to win and it hasn't happened.

Q. Is there less pressure here than say playing at Wentworth in May or at Akron?

PAUL McGINLEY: That doesn't really I don't even think about it this way to be honest. I don't even think of it that way. I know tomorrow I have an opponent to beat and I'll focus and I've got to play well to beat him.

Q. Has the Ryder Cup experience helped you this week?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, of course I have, every match play experience you have, it helps you. I've had two great experiences in Ryder Cup. I've learned a lot playing both Ryder Cups.

But I'll go back to it again, I mean, the way I got my grinding and my grounding in match play golf was up in Ireland playing the Amateur golf in Ireland. 90 percent of what we did in Ireland was match play, you know, and my dad used to play those tournaments. I used to caddie for him, and there was two or three guys that he was very friendly with, they were Irish internationals. And I tell you what, they were good teachers. I learned a hell of a lot from them and my dad, too. It is a game within a game, there's no doubt about that.

Q. What have you done to step up your game?

PAUL McGINLEY: You know, I just feel I have an edge. I just feel I've found an edge in my game. There's a sharpness coming into my game. I feel it the last couple of months. Experience, you know, it's funny it's funny the way the game goes. You know, you sort of progress and then you plateau, and you progress and then you plateau. You don't seem to go plateau, progress the whole stage. Everybody plateaus at a certain time. I just feel like I've come out of a plateau and I'm going up another gear, and I think I've shown that the last month, two months.

Q. You said you're mentally sharper, is that something you've worked on?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't I don't want to talk about it too much to be honest. But I have learned a lot. I'm a good learner. I might be a slow learner, but I'm a good one. I've said again, I really feel my best years are ahead of me at 38 years of age. I was 26 was my first year on Tour, which is very old by tours standards. I had done five years of college and worked in an office for a year. So, you know, I had quite a lot of experience as a person before I actually came on Tour. I think that's helped me.

But I had a long way to catch up in terms of my golf. I wasn't a whiz kid as a junior. I didn't play international golf for Ireland under age, I think I did when I was 22, might have been my first youth camp when I was 22. You know what, I've been a slow learner. Going back, I'll say it before, 19 years of age, I was a 7 handicap.

Q. How tired are you and how much do you think you have left in the tank?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I'm aware of that, and as soon as I get out of here, I'll be going home and resting up and conserving energy. But I'm very fit. I'm really strong and I'm very fit.

Q. How does it feel to be a whiz kid now?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know, I�m a whiz kid with gray hair!

Q. What was your wage in Brussels?

PAUL McGINLEY: 100 pounds a week. I worked in Bristol (ph) an ec. I lived off that, paid my rent, paid my food I wish it was tax free nowadays.

Q. Was that temporary or was that a career?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, that was my career, I had done three years of college in Dublin and I then did a year of postgraduate called �stage working in the environment and 1989, I think that was. And you know, I was at that stage in my football year, I had just come off six months of crutches on my football injury, and that was the first winter I played golf was in Brussels.

Q. Michael talked about starting to see in Goosen's body language that he was starting to get rattled was there any moment when you saw Cabrera was rattled

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I have to say he was a tough competitor. He fought right to the end, right to the end. No. Using the boxing analogy I used yesterday, I hit him with a couple of hard punches. And he hit me with some punches and I was able to stand on my feet when he did. But no, he didn't buckle at all. I had to go out and beat him.

Q. There was a suggestion that Cabrera was aggrieved at the drop you got on 14?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, we had two referees, Tony Gray and John Paramor. It was underneath the generator so I had to get a drop. No, I don't know nothing about that. There was two referees there, I did what the referees tell me.

Q. I think he thought he was going to win the hole?

PAUL McGINLEY: Oh, is that right? (Laughter). It didn�t stop him hitting his next tee shot 340 yards down the middle.

Q. How old were you when you went to Brussels and when did you turn pro after that?

PAUL McGINLEY: I was 21 and I turned pro at well, I was 26 would be my first year, I was 26 in 1992, it was my first year on Tour. I was 21 in I worked there for a year, and then I went to college in America for two years, 2 1/2 years. I played that summer, I played Walker Cup and then turned pro.

Q. Are you friendly with Michael?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, Michael, I played Michael the first two rounds of the U.S. Open this year when he won. And I said to him walking off the 18th green after the second round, I said, "Michael, you play like that, you'll win this thing." The next two days, sure enough, he did. He texted me a couple of days later to say "you were right." He's one of the good guys on Tour, very popular guy. Everybody is delighted, we feel he's one of our own when he won the U.S. Open this year, but, you know, he's a real tough competitor and a really, really good layer player. I'm under no illusions I've got to play well tomorrow. Nothing is given to you in this game.

Q. How much do you think the crowd will be with you tomorrow?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think if he was Australian that would be a bit more, wouldn't it? (Laughter) no, I mean, a lot of Irish support there today and I'm choked that they were all there, a lot of flags, a lot of people cheered for me. Yesterday I played against Luke and it was understandable that he had all of the support playing at hope. Fortunately they were on my side today and I had great support out there and hopefully have the same tomorrow.

Q. Why are you so interested in the stats from previous rounds?

PAUL McGINLEY: Just to get the general view of how he was playing, just to get a feel of what else was going on in the tournament.

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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