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May 27, 2005

Paul McGinley


SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thanks very much for coming in. It was commonly known that you had a spring in your step, not a great surprise after that round; you must be delighted with that.

PAUL McGINLEY: I'm obviously pleased. Any time you shoot a score like that around Wentworth you've got to be happy. You know, if ever there was a comfortable 64, that was it. I hit every green in regulation apart from the first which I missed by about two inches and a couple of par 5s in two, obviously.

You know, I played Wentworth the way it should be played: Course management, strategy, good shot making, knowing what pins to go for, what pins to hit away from. You know, to me that should be the future of golf.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Just give us your details before we take some questions. You birdied the second; what did you hit there?

PAUL McGINLEY: The second, I hit an 8 iron to six feet.

SCOTT CROCKETT: And the par 5, the fourth?

PAUL McGINLEY: I drove it in the rough, chipped out with a 100 yard wedge to a foot.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Birdie on the sixth.

PAUL McGINLEY: I birdied the sixth. I hit a 9 iron to four feet.

12, drive and a 6 iron, I hit a massive drive, 6 iron to about 12 feet.

14, I hit a 6 iron to five feet.

16, was a 3 iron, 8 iron to about 20 feet.

17, driver, 3 wood or 3 wood, 3 wood to about 40 feet, two putts.

SCOTT CROCKETT: And you had a chance to tie the course record; you just missed the hole at the last.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I just missed it. It was actually a really tough putt to read and I read it well. I didn't commit to the read. If I had hit it on the read I read it on, would have gone in. It's a difficult putt today for guys missed the putt on the right. It was about eight, nine feet, ten feet, something like that.

Q. You said about the future of golf, that's the way it should be, just comment on that.

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, it's something I've gone on record before saying. I'll say it again; that we've gone so far with technology now. I'm not criticizing technology, I think it's been good for golf and amateur golfers and as professionals we are certainly hitting the ball further.

My view on the future of golf, the USGA and the R&A should be working towards tough pin positions, firm greens, course management, strategy and bringing that back into the game, as opposed to rewarding brute power. You know, the major championships as we all know are played on very firm and fast greens. As Europeans, if we're going to compete in those major championships, we want to be playing courses that are similar to that, and Wentworth certainly is. I mean, it's not quite a setup for a U.S. Open, but there's very similar characteristics to U.S. Opens. Most of our tournaments we play in are not like that, and I think the future of golf should be set up more along really getting the greens firm and tucking the pins in.

I saw some pin positions out there today which I've never even at a European Tour event before, and all credit to the Tour. I mean, on the seventh hole, it's on four yards. I mean, I've never seen that before in a European Tour event, and it's great to see because when I go to play in the U.S. Open, that's the pin position that I get and it's great to see. It's great to see he put the pins where he did.

Q. What's another example?

PAUL McGINLEY: Another example was the eighth hole, the very next hole; the pin is on 17 yards. It looks like it's in the middle of the green, but I know myself from playing this place before that you hit it past that pin Ben Curtis hit a really good shot over the top of the pin, went 20 feet past and he could not stop it within eight feet of the hole, but that's just a case of course management; you know you can't go past the hole. These are the conditions we play in in major championships in America, and it's great to see a European Tour event making us play that way.

Q. Do you fear for the future, going on this route?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't fear for the future. I think it's in good, good hands. I'm not criticizing the R&A and USGA. They do a very fine job. I think sometimes they could look out, this is the way we can go, as well, is just putting an extra 40 yards on to the 14th hole at St. Andrews, which they have done this year. To me that just rewards one guy, not one guy, all the big hitters, because those bunkers on the left now are in play for 80 percent of the feel. For Tiger they are still not in play; it's 270 over, or whatever it is over now. Everybody else is trying to hit it between the narrow out of bounds and those bunkers, and the big guys can just blow it over them. I mean, that's not the future of golf if you ask me.

Q. What do they do then?

PAUL McGINLEY: Tough pin positions. Tough pin positions.

Q. The other two guys were saying that conditions for the guys this afternoon, it's going to be really tough.

PAUL McGINLEY: It is, and that's the way it should be. I think it's great. As I say if we are going to prepare ourselves as Europeans, and you're always asking us these questions when are Europeans going to win a major in America. If we are going to prepare ourselves for these, we need to start getting used to the pin positions and the conditions and getting used to the rock hard greens and getting used to missing the green on short side and not getting within 15 feet. That's what happens when you go to America.

Q. Do you think that is a major contributing factor, why no European has won in so long?

PAUL McGINLEY: No question. To go on the back of that, I think it's a matter of time before we start winning majors again. We're going to get a run, and I'll tell you why: Because there's more and more Europeans playing in American conditions.

Q. On a more personal level, you were pretty down on yourself last night after your round today. How do you account for the improvement?

PAUL McGINLEY: I was disappointed the way I shot 72. I was lucky. I know myself and I'm honest with myself; I was lucky to shoot 72.

Q. How do account for the improvement?

PAUL McGINLEY: Just kick myself in the ass and play some decent golf and get off to a good start, which I did.

Momentum, create some momentum early in the round. I always feel if you get through the first three holes level par, birdie the fourth, you're off and running. Didn't do it yesterday and put myself under pressure.

Q. Following on from today's round, looking ahead to Pinehurst, could you be the one who starts off with the run you're talking about?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, well, there's a long way to go yet. This golf course is going to toughen up lot over the weekend. It's getting firmer and faster, and there's going to be a lot of funny bounces, and there's going to be some wind expected on Sunday. We're going to have tricky conditions. But as I say, if we're going to prepare ourselves for major championships, it's great to have it.

Q. Did you hurt your wrist earlier in the week?

PAUL McGINLEY: It's fine. I damaged it, got it X rayed. It was all cleared. Everything's fine.

Q. When did you get X rayed?

PAUL McGINLEY: Monday morning.

Q. How would you rate that performance, that scoring performance today, nine out of ten? Ten out of ten?

PAUL McGINLEY: I was pleased with my round, obviously. You know, when you shoot 64 at Wentworth you've got to be thrilled and certainly I'm thrilled. A little blustery conditions, a little bit tricky, and obviously things went my way to shoot 64. You can't say things can't go your way. It was just a good day. I played good golf. It was a good day. Yesterday I played badly and got away with 72.

Q. Does it help when all three of you play well, the group seems to play well today?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it does, yeah. I think in professional sports, not just golf, a lot of it is momentum. You look at Liverpool the last night, when they got one goal, I don't know about you, but I could feel another one coming on. Momentum is huge in golf. Anything that creates or can be attributed to momentum, golf is the best example of all.

Q. You've been part of two winning Ryder Cup Teams and a World Cup; will you be content with your career unless you win a big title?


Q. Go on.


Q. So far, how would you sum up the career?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it's been great. I've had two great Ryder Cup experiences in extreme pressure, but my win ratio is not good enough. I'm aware of that.

Q. How many clubs did you use today?

PAUL McGINLEY: I used every club, every club in the bag, yeah.

Q. Do you think that reflects the challenge?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, absolutely. That's what it should be about. You know, I just love the finesse and the skill that has to be brought to the game, and, you know, if you can't do it, you can't do it. I might go tomorrow and not play the shots and shoot 74; and if I do, I have no to blame but myself.

I know the challenge is there. You hit a bad shot or if you hit a hook or something, say, on the short side, you know the green is going to be bouncy, you know it's going to bounce; you know it's going to kick on hard left into a bad lie and miss it on the short side and now you've got a tough chip. Hey, that's the way it should be, two off and hit the ball into bad pin positions, the ball plugs and you have a 15 footer, as opposed to being having a chip shot like you have around here where you basically cannot get it within 150 feet.

As I say if we are going to prepare ourselves as Europeans for major championships, that's the future of the game if you ask me. People might argue, but I'm quite happy to listen to an argument.

Q. How many drivers firstly; and secondly, of the holes other than short holes, how many different clubs did you use from the tee?

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, a lot of 3 woods. A lot of 3 woods. I can go through it if you want. 3 wood on the first. I hit 8 iron on the second. I hit driver on the third. I hit 3 wood on the fourth. I hit 5 iron on the fifth. I hit 4 iron on the sixth. I hit 3 iron on the sorry. Seventh, I hit a 5 wood. The eighth, I hit a 3 iron. Ninth, I hit a 3 wood. 10th was a 5 iron. 11th was a driver. 12 was a driver. 13 was a driver. 14 was a 6 iron. 15 was a 3 wood. 16 was a 3 iron. 17 was a 3 wood, and 18 was a driver.

Q. You mentioned football earlier; could you tell me where you were last Sunday?

PAUL McGINLEY: I know where you're going. Where's Simpson? Glad he's not here.

Q. Can you tell us where you were on the course last Sunday when you heard what happened to the Celtic and what the reaction was?

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, as I was waiting on the eighth fairway, I put on my mobile waiting for the putter to go. I put on mobile on to the Internet, and at that stage it was five minutes to go and we were still 1 nil. I was a little bit on edge and forgot about it. I put it out of my mind and went and played. When I walked up to the 18th, I caught a decent tee shot off 18 and I'm about 50 yards off my ball when someone shouted, "Did you hear what happened to Celt?" And I could tell by the look on his face what happened; it told me, and as I turned around my ball is in the face of the bunker. (Laughter). Just one of those days. One of those days. I mean, it really was very, very disappointing to say the least.

Q. You said about playing more American conditions, have you ever attempted to play more in America in your career?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I'd like to play more. If you want to be a top player in the world, I think you've got to play on a world tour now. It's pretty much a world tour. This is a world event if you ask me. It's a tremendous event. We've got some great events in Europe now, and our money is just as strong as America now because the way the dollar is compared to the pound.

And, you know, we can be proud of ourselves. We've come a long way as a European Tour. We have some great events coming up in the next three or four events, huge amount of money and very good golf courses. Of course I want to be part of that. It really hurt not being in the Masters this year. I feel I'm good enough to be playing in the Masters, and it hurts that I was 62 in the world at the time and wasn't in it. You know, I didn't even watch the Masters. It hurts that much. It's the same with the TPC.

But, I have no complaints. Top 50 in the world is where it's at. I didn't make it. I made the Ryder Cup the past year but I didn't do enough to make Top 50.

Q. What about Pinehurst?

PAUL McGINLEY: I have to qualify if I'm not exempt.

Q. On the opposite of that, do you congratulate Ben Curtis for coming over here when none of the other Americans have done so?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it's tremendous that Ben Curtis is here, absolutely tremendous. I wish we had more like him in America. This is a major event, it's a huge event. BMW have done a great job. Volvo has done a great job in the past. Great golf course, a lot of history to this event. I think it's great.

Q. I wanted to ask you a side issue question. What benefit do you think there will be for guys like you and other ISM players with Ernie Els now joining ISM?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. I mean, I don't know. Certainly raises the profile of the company. I've been with Chubby since I turned pro. Extremely happy with what he's done for me and what he continues to do, and I think it raises the profile and integrity of the company when somebody like Ernie decides to join after a long period of time.

Q. Do you see Ernie playing in some of the ISM organized events?

PAUL McGINLEY: I have no idea. I don't know what Ernie's schedule is. All credit to Ernie; Ernie does play a world schedule; he brings his game around the world and all credit to him.

Q. Can you compare today's round with the 63 you had in China?

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, that was different. China was an easy golf course to be honest. It wasn't a difficult golf course. Soft greens, grainy, this was firm and bouncy. As I say this is more major conditions.

Q. You've been working with Jos a little again this year, you spoke to him yesterday. Did you speak to him yesterday and if you did, what did he say?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it always does. I've seen Jos now, I see him on and off. I've seen him the last three weeks, and we have a chat every morning, yeah.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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