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August 30, 2006

Paul McGinley


SCOTT CROCKETT: Paul thanks for joining us. An interesting week for everybody, especially yourself. Is it difficult to concentrate on the BMW International Open without looking at other lists?

PAUL McGINLEY: Well, I think that's the key; that I do remain in the present and focus on my own game and not be looking around me too much. I've been through this before and that's been the secret before and that's being able to stay focused. That will certainly be my focus this week, on Paul McGinley, certainly not what everybody else does.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Being here before, that will help you presumably.

PAUL McGINLEY: Two Ryder Cups ago, I was in the position I'm in now where I was in with a good chance of making it. Obviously the one last time, I was very much on the border.

As I say, my success in the last times I've been in this situation is I was able to stay in the present, stay focused and stay concentrated on my own game and let things evolve. Keep my concentration levels high about my own game and not looking around too much and losing focus.

Q. It would seem that Jose Maria's decision not to come here has cushioned things and made things a bit softer for you, are you surprised that he has not come?

PAUL McGINLEY: I'm not really surprised, no. You know, he feels he's played well enough to make this team. He's posted a number on the board, and let anybody try and catch him. It only makes it easier for me if Monty plays well. If Monty doesn't play well, it makes no difference.

But as I say the focus is on me this week. I have an idea of the permutations, but I don't know exactly and I really don't want to know it exactly. I think the important thing is if I play well and get my name on that leaderboard and show that I'm not here looking around me, I think that will have a positive effect on the results that I need.

Q. You've shown in the past that maybe you haven't brought the best of form here to a Ryder Cup but when you get there, it's a different situation. What are the other attributes that allow you to sort of switch from one side of form to another side of form when you get into a team situation?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. I wish I knew; I'd do it every week.

In fairness, the last time my form was great. I was flying. I played really good having played ten tournaments in a row to make the team. The Belfry was the same, too. I was playing well going into The Belfry and 9/11 happened, so it was a year before it was obviously played and my form it dipped a bit.

But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The important thing is to make the team. I'm not in the team yet and I'll cross that bridge when hopefully I make the team.

Q. You say you don't know exactly the permutations, did you two years ago; did that sort of dominate?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think the answer is broadly. You know, I knew it was 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 how much ahead I was the last time, but I didn't know what I had to finish or what anybody, else had to finish? I don't want to take my focus away. The focus is playing well this week, and the better I play, the more pressure it puts on the other guys. I broadly know this time but I don't know specifically exactly, but I broadly know.

Q. And the same philosophy you were taking?

PAUL McGINLEY: The philosophy is broadly aware but not exactly into it and aware which checking into it every night. I don't want to know the exact specifics.

Q. On that same topic, usually it would be a pleasure playing with Padraig Harrington, is it going to be a strain from the point of view that there's at reminder in your face?

PAUL McGINLEY: Not at all. He's one of my favourite players to play golf with in the whole world. The ironic thing is, we were just talking about it, I've been on Tour now 14 years, and I've never, ever been drawn with Padraig in the first two rounds. First time ever, which is quite ironic considering that the draws in Europe are seeded every week and we're obviously in the top bracket of seeding in TV and TV pairings. So it's very, very ironic that I've never been drawn with it before. He can't remember and I'm certain we've never been drawn together, so it is quite ironic.

Q. But playing with him, will it be in your face?

PAUL McGINLEY: He's in my face every day. I'm used to looking at him. (Laughter).

Q. You said staying focused Paul, but are there not certain names like two or three names after you've posted your score you will look just to?

PAUL McGINLEY: Of course. There's only two guys that can pass me this week. I'm aware of that. As I say, I broadly know what can happen and I think they need Top 3 or four finishes but that's as much as I know.

My focus this week is Paul McGinley and Paul McGinley playing well. As I say the important thing is that I get out there and play well, and if I can get in the leaderboard, fantastic, because that's putting a huge amount of pressure on everybody else; the fact that I'm not backing off, and that's what I did the last time. That was the secret that my good play, put pressure on everybody else.

Q. Could you have asked for a better playing to be playing with Padraig, how beneficial can that be and how supportive has he been to you to make the team?

PAUL McGINLEY: Padraig is not out of the woods either. He's had a tough couple of months as well, too. He had a really good stretch the middle of the season there which propelled him into the team. Neither of us have been relaxed in terms of having the team made. We have work to do and we're both obviously from Dublin, we both really want to be on the team.

As I say, the focus will be on Paul McGinley and me playing well this week. It is a good draw, I really enjoy playing with Padraig and I'm looking forward to playing with him.

Q. Do you have any feelings on whether Woosnam would or should pick Darren?

PAUL McGINLEY: I have some views, yeah, and I don't want to make them public. It's not right for me as a fellow player to make public my views on whether Darren should or shouldn't play. I spoke to him privately and our discussion will remain private. So it's not really for me to be honest to say and it would not be right for me.

Probably your next question is going to be who I think the picks should be, and honestly, honestly, I think, and I if was the captain, I would not like to hear any other place saying, oh this, guy should be picked and this guy should be picked. It is the captain's prerogative, and, you know, it's not right that other players should be influencing who may or may not be the picks. So, I'm certainly not going to get involved in the public discussion of who I think the picks should be. I think it is close, obviously. But it will have to remain to be seen. It's Woosie's decision and his alone.

You know, for example, if I said, A should be in the team and A wasn't in the team, how would B feel because he got the pick? So I don't think it's right from a team point of view that that should be the case, that somebody like me would have a strong view on who should be picked and who shouldn't.

I had the same view the last time and I think it's right that the players should stay out of the politics involved and who the picks should be. It should be for who the captain to say. Sure, there can private discussions, but I don't think they should be made public.

Q. Have you contemplated what it would feel like not to make the feel for a Ryder Cup?

PAUL McGINLEY: No. Don't want to go down that road. I don't want to open up that can of worms.

Q. Have you had a chat with Woosie in the last few weeks?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I haven't spoken to him since Holland. That was two weeks ago two, and a half weeks ago.

Q. What did he say to you then?

PAUL McGINLEY: He said the same discussions with me I'm sure he's had with everybody else, which is, you know, keep playing well and see how the team evolves basically. Encouragement but not putting pressure on anybody.

He's doing right thing. It's not right to be putting pressure on anybody or saying, I want this guy on the team, I don't want this guy on the team. I think it's the right it's the right strategy to let more or less everybody get on with it.

Q. Tom Lehman talked about what's expected, Woosie's laissez faire approach has been keeping more in the way with the Europeans re?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, you look at our success over the last number of years, you know, did Bernhard Langer send out letters? He was the most organised person in the whole world, and did he go through all that structure and all that? No, he didn't. Europeans have a way of dealing. Tom Lehman has taken his role on in a very active manner, and I think he'll be a very strong captain.

I think it's a very, very strong American team. I think it's quite ironic that the makeup of the American team is what we've strived on throughout the years as Europeans insofar as they have got four or five very strong players and then four or five players that are not as well known, but obviously really good players to have made the team. That was our formula for success for a large number of Ryder Cups and now the wheel has turned and boosting the other foot for the Americans. But we're not going to fall into the trap of underestimating them. I think they are a very, very strong team. Any one of those guys certainly is good enough to be a Ryder Cup player. If they can qualify on their points system, they are one hell of a player, so we certainly won't underestimate them.

Q. You part answered it there, but whoever gets in the European side, would you make them the strongest European Team ever?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I've said all along, it's going to be the toughest team ever to qualify for, and I think that's been proved right. The money is up nearly 20 percent already on what it was in the last qualifying campaign, which is proved that it has been a very, very strong team to make. You know, you look at some of the players who would have been shoe ins at the start, when your qualifying points system started, you would have said that Darren would have made the team on points, for example and Thomas and you can go on and on; Lee, and none of them have made it in points so far. That's proved my point that it is going to be a very strong European Team.

But it's a hell of a strong American team, too. It's going to be a very, very tight, close fought match. I think the Americans are extremely strong, particularly the top players, everybody knows, they are a very, very strong team and certainly not to be underestimated.

Q. Who do you think is the favourite?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it's a close call. I think it's a close call. The Americans have at the moment. They have got form. As we speak right now, the Americans have got a lot of good form. They have a guy in the world who is probably the best golfer the world has ever seen playing the best golf of his life. That is one hell of an asset to a team. It's kind of hard to not make that team favourites.

Q. How would you rate your own form going into this Ryder Cup compared to the last two times?

PAUL McGINLEY: It's not good, there's no question about that. You have to look at my performances. I haven't played well enough in the summer. But as I say, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The point is to get through this week first. My golf is not horrendous, it's not really that bad. I haven't been putting scores together. I've been sort of chugging along as opposed to just playing the golf I know I'm capable of.

But I still have my nose in front and I intend to keep it there.

Q. This week it's a course where a lot of short irons and a lot of putts have to drop. It's a course that's sort of, the winner has to have a lot of birdies. What do you feel from your own point of view?

PAUL McGINLEY: I've played well on this kind of course in the past. I think it's going to play tougher than it has in previous years. The rough is up quite high compared to previous years and obviously the weather is pretty brutal. We've always come here in very, very warm conditions and as you know, when it's cold like this, the ball doesn't go quite anywhere near as far.

So you're going to find the par 5s are going to be not as successful as they have been in the past, and I think the scoring won't be as good as they have been in the past but it still will be low scoring. It will be into the teens; the winning score will be well into the teens.

Q. Last week you played with the best the game has ever seen, was that a rather intimidating proposition for you? And you've played against him in the Ryder Cup and beaten him in the Ryder Cup, what would you say is the difference in a tournament, as against playing him in the Ryder Cup?

PAUL McGINLEY: I really enjoy playing with him. As I say, he's probably the greatest golfer the game has ever seen playing at the absolute peak of his abilities, which he did the first two days last week. It was a pretty saw some display.

I was very disappointed with the scores that I shot. If you look at the scores, you would say that I was intimidated. I honestly don't think that I was. I feel that I didn't putt very well; 36 putts the first day and 34 the second, so you're not going to shoot any good scores doing that.

But it was a big learning experience for me to see golf played at that level. I've never seen anybody play so well as he did for those first two days, and it was a quite awesome display of golf. He is in a league of his own, and I think he's gone onto prove, he will be the one to prove he is the greatest golfer we've ever seen.

Q. And playing with him in the foursomes with Padraig, it's a difference, is it?

PAUL McGINLEY: What's the difference, is that the question? Yeah, I mean, just the way it panned out. We played well. With Padraig, we played very well, we had a good day; we won.

Last week, I didn't putt very well and I had a bad day and it looks like I was intimidated. I honestly don't think I was. I enjoy playing with him, though. As I say, it was a really good learning experience, and it was a big boost playing with him to be honest, with big crowds around. It was really good. As I say, to see the greatest golfer I think we've ever seen in the game play at the level that he did for those first two days, over the weekend I think he struggled, but those first two days he didn't miss a shot.

Q. So if you were to meet him gain in the Ryder Cup, would that experience have a negative effect on you, do you think?

PAUL McGINLEY: Oh, I don't think so. Absolutely not, no. I've love to play him again in the Ryder Cup. You know, he's a hell of a player. But you know, Ryder Cup, 18 holes, anything is possible. We'll cross that bridge when we come into to it.

Q. How surprised were you that Tiger, Phil and all 12, in fact, of the American players went to the K Club, spent two days there, and what message does that golf you about this American team and what Lehman is doing; does it really make you wonder?

PAUL McGINLEY: It doesn't make me wonder. I know they have had very negative press in America about how weak the team is. I don't buy that at all. Any one of those four rookies that may made the team obviously have played very well to make that team, because you don't fluke good performances in America, and they have obviously had good performances to make that team.

It was a big sign of intent the fact that they spent a lot of money getting a private plane to go over there and spend two days there. I think it's beneficial for them that the weather was bad for them when they were there, so they have gone away with no false illusions of what the weather could be like. If it's good, it's obviously great for them because that's what they are used to playing in, good weather, but they have also seen it in bad conditions, too.

So they will be a very well prepared team, very much driven by a very, very good captain, and I think they will be a formidable force. And to say that we're odds on favourites, I don't see it that way. I think it's going to be very close fought.

Q. Did Tiger mention he was going over to the K Club or was it a last minute thing?

PAUL McGINLEY: He did mention it to me, yeah.

Q. How was that situation resolved on the 9th? I still don't understand, do you?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't understand it either. It was a circus. I mean there, is no doubt about it, there is a circus atmosphere when you are playing with Tiger, something that he's very used to in terms of the crowds and the media interest and the scorers and all of those kind of people who are inside the ropes. But that's okay. I mean, Ryder Cup is very much like that, too.

And I really don't know. I don't understand how it wasn't out of bounds to be honest, but anyway, that's another story. It was a shame because that last hole took the gloves off the way he played for the first 17, and boy, I tell you what, he just played absolutely awesome. He started with four birdies that second day, and his distance control and his ball control was and the standard of his short game, which nobody seems to talk about. They all talk about his big hitting and his wayward driving, and, you know, his formidable pressure and what he can do. But his short game is just as good, better than I've ever seen. Better than I've ever seen, not just his putting. His bunker play; his chipping, as well. He's got such an array of shots.

He's a complete golfer. There's no question or doubt about that. He's a very, very formidable competitor, and put it all on top of that, because he's so good technically and hit all these good shots, it makes him a pretty fearsome competitor. There's no doubt about, it he's going to be a hugely strong asset to tat American team, and you know, he's formidable is the only way to describe him. He is a pretty awesome talent.

Q. Two of the four Americans rookies have never played match play, and we know it's a different game; how do you learn the art of match play in a month?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. I don't know. Which two?

Q. Wetterich and Vaughn.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I don't know, I don't know how that pans out. It might be an asset. I don't know. I've never come across somebody who hasn't played match play before, so I don't know how it's going to pan out.

But I know one thing for certain, don't underestimate these four rookies who have made this team. And it's easy to write them off, because you haven't heard much of them and they are rookies. They are obviously really, really good players to make that team. You don't fluke Top 10 finishes in America and they had quite a number of Top 10 finishes to headache this team.

I'm certainly under no illusion that this is a very strong American team and a very well prepared American team, an American team as I say with a very, very strong leader and the with No. 1 player in the world at the moment, and probably the greatest player we've ever seen play the game.

Q. You just about answered my question, but do you think it will be the difference, Tiger Woods this time, because he's said that he wants to be he seems to be more interested this time. He is the best player in the world; is he going to be their driving force and make the difference this time?

PAUL McGINLEY: I mean, I don't know, I can't look in a crystal ball and see, but he's playing the best golf of his life, there's no doubt about that. He's come off four wins in a row and another thing which I think will be a big factor for Tiger; A, the golf course will suit him, it's going to be wet, it's going to be long, it's going to be soft, relatively wide fairways. So it's definitely going to suit him.

And B, he knows that golf course better than anybody else on that American team. He's been coming over for the last four or five years preparing for the British Open and he's always played at least one round in the K Club at that time and he's based himself on The K Club on several occasions and stayed there. He's very familiar with the surroundings and he's very familiar with the golf course. He's comfortable in Ireland and he's got a lot of friends in Ireland and he does spend a lot of time in Ireland. He's going to be in a pretty secure place from his point of view insofar as he's going to be comfortable in the environment that he's going to be playing in. So, yes, to answer your question, he will be a formidable force.

Q. Inaudible?

PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. You'll have to ask him that, I don't know.

Q. The second part of the question is: Will he inspire people like the rookies this time? He's not inspired the team particularly in the past. That's what I'm saying, he seems to have changed his attitude and the team may work around him better that way, do you feel?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I think it was quite ominous, in a restaurant last week, he was having dinner with the four rookies, just the five of them having dinner one night, which is quite ominous. This is an American team that is very up for winning. No doubt about it and not to be underestimated. I think it's a very, very strong team, and as I say, again, will be very well led by a strong captain.

I think it's a big, big well, it's not a big problem, but it is a danger for us to underestimate them. I think it's very important that we don't. I think this is a hell of a team that they have, and they are going to perform at a very high level. In order for us to do well, we've to compete and do what we've done in the last Ryder Cups and compete with them. I'm confident that we can do that. I really do believe this is a very strong European Team as well, and it's going to be a very, very close contest.

SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you, Paul.

End of FastScripts.

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