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WGC NEC INVITATIONAL


August 17, 2004


Paul McGinley


AKRON, OHIO

CHRIS REIMER: Well, Paul, we were talking on the way in. Great week last week. You mentioned it's a little nice to be here and kind of let your brain unfreeze after that course. Talk a little bit about that to start.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, thank you. Well, obviously last week was a very tough tournament for everybody. The course was really tough, really fair. It's a very enjoyable golf course, great design, obviously very much like Ireland, a little bit linksy, had a links feel to it. The weather was linksy, it started out cold by warmed up a little bit with a bit of breeze. It was a course I was comfortable on and everybody enjoyed it. It was a wonderful week and a great climax to the tournament.

CHRIS REIMER: Moving here to the NEC this week, do you have to play a different mindset at this course as opposed to last week.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's more target golf here this week. Hitting the ball from A to B as opposed to last week, a couple of times I could run the ball up. It's not necessarily the case this week. The course, even though it is shorter in terms of distance, it'll probably play longer than last week with the fescue. Fairways last week was a bit of run, particularly downwind, you could run the ball quite significantly. It is quite a long, tough golf course. It's a brilliant golf course. I've been fortunate to play it four or five times now, and it's a great test of golf.

Q. Do you like that challenge of moving from one style of golf to the next and adopting your game to that?

PAUL McGINLEY: Very much so. Golf now is a very global game and you have to play the links‑style courses and you have to play the inland‑style courses like this and then you have to play the weeks in between like last week. It's great. It's a form of golf that people have become more acquainted with. Americans are more comfortable than they have been in the past from playing British Opens and from experience, and last week will be somewhere between a links and what we have this week.

Q. How tired are you?

PAUL McGINLEY: Physically I'm not tired at all. I feel as fit now as I've ever been. Mentally I'm still working a lot of adrenaline for obvious reasons, so I'm careful not to overdo myself, over‑extend myself in terms of practice, in terms of preparation, and saving as much as I can for four rounds, 18 holes. It's something that I'm very much aware of, not to overdo it, over‑extend myself. There's a lot of pressure at the moment. There's a lot going on as everybody knows, and it's a case like a jockey holding back on the reins a little bit, pulling back on the reins and letting myself go when I'm pulling on the reins a little bit. I'm very much aware¬† ‑‑ that's my intention at the moment.

Q. The dinner that Lonard is having this week, do you feel like you're almost at an audition kind of?

PAUL McGINLEY: Not particularly. First of all, I'm delighted to be involved, and I was going to be involved this week even before I played well last week, which was nice. He's obviously had me in mind before last week happened, and I moved up last week. I think it's good. I think it's a bit unfortunate that we don't have more of the guys in the top 15 in our¬† ‑‑ or in America at the moment, not in the tournament, guys just ahead of me and guys just behind me who have a very strong chance of making the team and not able to go to the dinner. That's a bit unfortunate. I think it's important. Sam did it, and I think we had three, four, maybe five dinners with Sam because we had an extra year, maybe six dinners, and over the period of 14 months, and it was very beneficial; I'm sure tomorrow's will be, as well.

Q. What do you get out of that?

PAUL McGINLEY: It's the initiation process of the team bonding. That's what I got from the last time. It's the start of a team, getting to know the players, getting to know the captain, what his ideas are on the week. I obviously had a lot to learn the last time so far as it was my first Ryder Cup, it was a whole new experience for me, so I went in with open ears and open eyes and obviously what Sam had to say and the vice captains, as well.

It's the start of team bonding, which is obviously a very important week.

Q. I saw you talking to Bernhard on the range. Did he say anything in particular?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah. Am I going to tell you (laughter)?

Q. In general terms.

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, I had two conversations with Bernard last week and I had one again this morning. I mean, a lot of what he said is private, but it's fair to say that he's obviously pleased with my form at the moment. He made it quite clear he'd like to have me on the team. I'm obviously very keen to be on the team.

Q. You said it's unfortunate the two players above you are not here.

PAUL McGINLEY: It's unfortunate in terms of the meeting, but in terms of me, yeah, I do have an advantage. It is a window of opportunity for me to make some progress. I haven't looked at the list specifically. I know I'm in 10th place. I know that I'm just ahead of Jacques Remesy. I know I'm not far behind¬† ‑‑ is Poulter just ahead of me? I'm not focusing on how far I need to pass him. I don't want that to be my focus. My focus this week is to do what I did last week, try and make as big a check as possible and after the week see where the cards fall. My focus is not to pass one guy or pass two guys. My focus is to play well this week, and at the end of the week, as the cards fall, where am I at from here and what I've got to do in the BMW. I'm not really concerned with who's ahead of me and how far ahead of me and what position I've got to finish to pass them. I don't want to go down that road.

I'm also very much aware that Jacobson and Haeggman are playing and I'll be surprised if they don't make a run in the next couple of weeks, or certainly this week. Just like I won't be surprised this week if somebody who's not in it this week won't make a run next week. There's always somebody coming out of the pack, and from my point of view I'm not going to get involved in what other guys are doing. I've got to keep my head down, play as hard as I can and see what happens at the end of the week.

Q. It's in your hands.

PAUL McGINLEY: It's in my hands. I've got a lot of extra chances that a lot of the other guys don't have. I'm aware of that and I'm going to take advantage of that and I'm going to keep my head down and play as hard as I can as opposed to worrying about what other guys are doing.

Q. Does this course suit you?

PAUL McGINLEY: I've always played pretty well here in the past. I remember when I came here in the past I thought it was the longest golf course I had ever seen, it was so daunting and tough and tree‑lined. Now with new technology and me being stronger and swinging the club better, the course is not as long and daunting as it was when I came here first. It's a tough golf course, a very fair golf course, always produces great winners. It's a really, really tough great golf course.

CHRIS REIMER: Thanks, guys.

End of FastScripts.

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