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October 2, 2002

Paul McGinley


Q. Paul, is it fair to say you've had an interesting week? Tell us what happened from that moment on Sunday up to now.

PAUL McGINLEY: From my own point of view, wow. I just can't describe how the feeling -- it's just been a whirlwind of excitement and pleasure and adrenaline still. Happiness. Happiness for all the team and for guys like you and particularly players on the European Tour. The congratulations from the players has been unbelievably warm, guys like you who are part of the European Tour. It just seems like everybody in the whole world, whether it be the bell boy in the hotel or somebody on the golf course this morning, Carnoustie or players, it's just been fantastic.

I feel like I cheated a little bit. I was fortunate that I had the glory of holing the putt, but it was so much a team event and I don't want anybody to lose sight of the fact it really was a team effort.

It was my turn to have the glory, but it was very much a team effort. If I had been a bit better at my job at one area, I would not have gotten the glory.

GORDON SIMPSON: Is that the main thing that comes out of this, the 12 guys --.

PAUL McGINLEY: Absolutely. It's so important for the European Tour. It was no question we were the underdogs and are a poor relation financially compared to the American tour which is unbelievably strong. It was just so important for the European Tour in terms of sponsors and in terms of TV deals and in terms of the players and everybody. It's just, everybody got a lift from it. There's definitely a buzz about the place this week due to the Ryder Cup. It's just been fantastic.

Q. You'll have had many special moments since Sunday, but what particularly stands out with you?

PAUL McGINLEY: The one outstanding memory of our celebrations on Sunday night was we came off the 18th green, we did our closing ceremony, we did our photographs and we went into the pros. From there, we went into a private room with the players and wives to have a few cocktails or beers which was great.

Then Darren decided, let's go and have a glass of champagne, which will be in the bar. So me, Westwood, Darren and Woosie went to the bar with the girls, as well, for what we thought would be would be a quiet, get a corner or somewhere. The minute we walked in the whole place erupted and we were lifted like a tidal wave and placed on top of tables and chairs. My outstanding memory, Lee Westwood -- I had never laughed or sang so much. It wasn't drink because I made sure I didn't get drunk; a few beers and glasses of champagne, but I didn't want to get drunk. I wanted to savor every moment. That moment in the bar when Lee introduced each member, if we only had a video, because you could not repeat it, the language that he used for each player, but it was just so funny. Every single player got a big -- a big opening as to who they were from Lee, and finally, he said, now, we have whoever, and they would come up and every single player came and sang to, and that for me was the outstanding memory of all the celebrations.

Q. Are you disappointed that Sam isn't here to play?

PAUL McGINLEY: Oh, Sam has been here. I had a few drinks with him last night. I've already had about five messages on my mobile phone from him. We had a few good drinks in the jigger last night, had a few more drinks in the bar at the hotel and he was very much part of the celebrations.

I mean what can I say about Sam? I'll let you in on a little secret -- you know, anyway. The ball that I holed the winning putt with, a friend of mine back in Ireland, he's going to mount it and put it in a nice case and engrave the players names in silver around the golf ball and we are going to present it to Sam on behalf of the team. It's the least we can do. I've love to keep it myself, but I think he is deserving of it. It will be just a little thank you from the players back to Sam. I'm sure he'll cherish it.

I'm sure we'll have an occasion where we are all together in the next few months. It won't be done privately.

It's a little small thing, but it's nice. It's in a very safe place.

Q. Do you find your mind going back over it again?

PAUL McGINLEY: The whole time, absolutely. I just can't describe to you, the joy. I think I described it on radio, but it's like you get a bottle of champagne and you shake it and you shake it and you shake it and you shake it as hard as you can shake it, and that's how I felt inside, the champagne bottle with the bubbles inside, that could not release itself out. That's how I felt inside.

And to look up when the putt was a foot from the hole and see it going right in the middle, and then just like the top came off the champagne and everything just exploded. That's as near as I can describe to you how I felt. It was the pent-up emotion inside of me, the emotion of nervousness, excitement of adrenaline, of wanting to do it so badly, all of those things come together, fear of missing. All of those things, pent up inside and then to finally be released in a moment of just sheer joy. There's nothing more that you can describe it.

Q. Were you worried about how the week might go, and then on Sunday, how the day might go?

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, there's no question, yeah, my form has not been as good this year as would I have liked. As I said before the Ryder Cup, this time I was bursting with confidence coming in and at the top of my game, but as anybody knows, going into an atmosphere like that and not on your game, it's not easy. So, yeah, I was apprehensive.

But once I got into it -- I didn't practice hardly as well. I practiced pretty decent, but when I got in the first day with Padraig, I played really well. Once I got on that first tee, I was ready, and I relished it. I thrived on it, actually. It raised my game to a level which I have not been playing all year, there's no question about that.

I obviously just had the week of my life. To cap it off -- whether I holed the winning putt or not, even if we lost, I still had an unbelievable experience. It was a great experience. I just feel so close to the 12 guys on the team, and to Sam and Woosie and Langman and Jesse; I just feel like we did when we had a soccer team or football team at home and you won a big tournament. You just feel so close to the guys. You saw my reaction on the green. When I holed the putt, it was -- I did a nice -- I penguined out -- what do you call it? I turned right across to the team and I knew exactly where they were sitting and what they were thinking. I just wanted to share it with everybody. I didn't want to keep it to myself. I wanted to share it with everybody.

Q. Have you thought about what might have happened had you missed that putt?

PAUL McGINLEY: Since then, yes. At the moment, no. I was very focused on what I was doing. I have to say, I was extremely nervous. I was, what can you say, apprehensive. I was obviously motivated to hole it and very focused. Everything, like the champagne bottle, was kept up inside. Every emotion that you can think of was at its intensity. The fear of missing was just as high as the adrenaline rush as if I holed it.

But having said all that, I was able to put that in the back of my mind and focus back onto my routine, back onto holing the putt.

I was fortunate that I had that putt at Benson & Hedges and holed it and so I had the line. My caddie said to me -- he could not have said anything better, he said it four or five times lining up the putt, he said, "You know this line. It's a ball outside left. Remember it last year." He said it four or five times when we were lining up the putt. I remember saying to myself, "Paul, you know the line, now you've got to produce a stroke that's going to put it in the hole." And fortunately, I did. As I say, I stuck to my routine. I didn't try to put a stroke on it. I didn't try to hole it. I just stuck to my routine, saw the line, did what I did all the time, two looks at it, two looks at the hole, let the putter go and I mean, it just came off perfect.

Q. Did you hit it marginally more quickly than you would normally?

PAUL McGINLEY: Not really, no. My routine is always the same. The reason it might have looked quick was because I knew the line. If I'm not sure of the line I might have more time to look at the putt from different angles. At that stage it was very much a case of keeping things simple. The more I looked at it, the more difficult it was going to be and the more I might have seen a spike mark or heal print or whatever. I knew the line, was quite confident of the line, and it was just a question of standing up, sticking to my routine and letting it go.

Q. Do you think you owe a small bit to Pauly for holing the chip and giving you a chance to make that putt?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I really don't. I would have been more happy if he won that point and I'm honest when I say that. That's how much of a team I felt like that week and I feel like that.

I feel blessed that it was actually me, who had the opportunity, first of all, to do it and that's the best way to describe. I just feel blessed that I had the opportunity to do it.

I did an interview with NBC -- they asked us, what would you do if you had the winning putt. First of all, to win the Ryder Cup, my answer was, first of all, I'd love to have the opportunity. Secondly, I don't know how I'm going to feel, I have no idea. If I do have the opportunity, I'll let you know, which I'm doing now.

But I felt so much of the team, I would have had no problem at all if Niclas would have won that point. I have to say, the rest of the players, when I holed the putt, there was not one of them that said, "Gee, I wish I had that chance to do it." They were all just so happy the team had won. I just don't want to -- let's get things out of context here. I didn't win the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup was won by the team. As I said, if I had been better at my job like Phillip Price earlier -- it was very much a team effort. His point was hugely important. But Monty, he was absolutely magnificent.

Q. Of all of the messages of congratulations, was there one that was more amusing or different?

PAUL McGINLEY: Not really. I think it's just the sheer volume is what's been fantastic, the sheer joy of people, the sheer happiness of people, that we won the Ryder Cup. That's what's come across strongly is -- it was like everybody feels like they won the Ryder Cup, and that's great. We all are part of Europe and as much as politics should tell us we are not; we are all part of Europe and we felt very much like a team last week. That's what's come across strongly is every single person I meet feels like they won the Cup.

Best way I can describe it is everybody supports a soccer team. Some of the people -- you might be Rangers but that's all right. Somebody who is really, really deep into the football team, and when they win, you feel part of that team. That's the feeling I'm getting from everybody, whether it be you guys or whether it be people on the street or people in the hotel or caddies or players. It's like, we won the Cup. We won the Cup. Not like -- when I won the British Open it would be "Congratulations, Paul, you won the Open." The feeling I'm getting now is we won the Cup. Well done, you are part of it and I'm part of it. That's the way everybody should feel. We were all part of the team and it was very important. That's what's nice.

Q. Was there any one thing that you say to yourself standing over a putt like that?

PAUL McGINLEY: Routine. As I say, it was a matter of -- Darren drilled that into me. I learned a lot from the players during the week, and Darren drilled that into me when we were playing, particularly on the Saturday night when our point was so -- a half-point was so important Saturday night to go in all square. He kept saying to me down the stretch, "Paul, just stick to your routine. That's all you've got to rely on at this stage is your routine. Don't do anything different." I learned a lot from him.

Probably Jesper was the guy I learned the most from this week. He was magnificent.

Q. Did you actually look at the board to know you had that for the Cup or did someone tell you?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I did look at the scores the way around. Sam's instructions were if you see blue on the board, look at it and take in the blue.

He said, "If you see blue on the boards, you'll feed off it and take it. If you see red, don't look at the board." In general, I mean. Yeah, you could see from the reaction -- for only a halve game, yeah. (Laughter.)

I guess from that point, I walked over the bridge, I knew my half point was going to be vital and Sam said to me when I walked over the bridge, yeah. I was just, I have enough pressure, thanks for that.

Q. How difficult would it be to come down from the high to focus on a regular events?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't want to come down from the high.

As I say, when we won, I didn't want to get drunk. I wanted to have a good few drinks and champagne and share the joy with everybody. I didn't want to get drunk. I didn't want to forget it. I wanted to remember and have savor every moment and I still feel like that now.

This week, I'll enjoy it and I'll play -- if I don't play, I don't play. But it's not every week you win the Ryder Cup, and I'm certainly -- I don't want to have a reality check. I want to just keep the happiness going and keep the joy going. It's just so special. I can't tell you how happy I feel. It's not a personal happiness. It's a happiness for everybody. I really do feel that.

As I say, I feel so bonded to the 12 guys on the team and the rest of the staff. I feel really bonded for life, having won the Ryder Cup. That gives me a lovely feeling.

Q. How cold was it --?

PAUL McGINLEY: It wasn't so much cold but it was slimy and dirty and smelly. It was horrible. Boy, did I stink.

Q. Padraig said you're the best putter in the world who never holed anything.

PAUL McGINLEY: He's the best putter in the world who does hole everything.

All I can say is all the frustration of playing well, finishing eighth on the Money List last year, good money season but thirds in greens in regulation -- all I can say is all of the lip outs, all of the frustration over the years was just released in that one moment. What a time to hit a good putt, or what a time to hit the best putt of your life. I really feel like it was the best putt of my life, came right off the middle of the putter and went into the middle of the hole.

As I say, I stuck to my routine, two looks at the hole, and as I hit the putt, stayed down for a second or two and as I looked up, the ball was a foot from the hole and that feeling when the ball was six inches from the hole and right in the middle, perfect pace and couldn't miss, I can't describe that feeling. It was just, as I say, the champagne bottle again, it was just a whole release of -- that's what I kept shouting on the green, yes, yes, we did it, we did it. That's what I kept shouting. Seemed like forever before the guys ran over to me. That's how much I was in the moment at the time. I know it was only a matter of one or two seconds, but I felt like I was dancing on the green for ten minutes before somebody came.


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