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May 10, 2006

Paul McGinley


PAUL McGINLEY: It is a great thrill to come through the gates here. It was a massive win against the odds. I think Brookline not Brookline, Oakland Hills was obviously a great win, too. But remember, we had 12 guys all on form and Bernard was dealt a great hand. I think Sam had to duck and dive a hell of a lot more. It was obviously a great week. And yes it's great to be back here, and it was me who put the cherry on top by holing the last putt was winning for the team.

Q It must still give you a buzz?

PAUL McGINLEY: No question. To have that opportunity and then to hole the putt, in a Ryder Cup, in any sport, it's like scoring a goal in the World Cup finals. It's a wonderful memory that will live with me forever. I feel very fortunate that I had the opportunity and the way things rolled. Azinger holed his back shot in the game before, how often does that happen statistically? That's 1 in a 100 that would happen.

And then for it to come down to my shot there's a lot of things that happen in order for me to have the opportunity and fortunately I did. I had a great finish that day. I birdied 17 as well, too. And I played against Jim Furyk as everyone knows is one of the toughest competitors in the game. So it's a big, big deal for me.

But, you know, I feel I've moved on since then. It was a big thing for me to make the following team, which I did. I performed well in that. I had a big win in the Volvo Masters and performed well in the World Match Play and performed well in a couple of majors. I think my career has progressed quite a lot since then, and one thing I was very conscious of it being my epitaph. I moved on from it and I feel that I have. I want to keep moving.

Q. Can you compare how you felt as a player the last time who came here for a stroke play event with now?

PAUL McGINLEY: The last stroke play event was a year after, wasn't it? To be quite honest, the first year after it was quite a lot of turmoil. All of a sudden I'm thrust into the public light and everybody's rearview mirror to a large extent.

Yeah, it was difficult, a lot of media requests. My profile was obviously high. The first year I had to sort of balance things off and get used to the fact that I was playing to a higher profile now.

But as I say, I think since then I've moved along. It did take a while to settle down and get comfortable, but I feel I've overcome that now and moved on to a different level since then.

Q. Do you still rate that World Cup victory as your best result?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it always will be because it's my first one, everybody remembers their first one. But the first one in golf was a memorable thing for me and Padraig: the fact we shared it together, two guys that went to the same school, lived within a mile of each other, grew up together and played for the same football team; it was a unique experience. I think because it was the first one and it was a major thing and also because it was for Ireland, two local boys winning the World Cup for Ireland for the first time since Bradshaw and O'Connor, that was a big deal, obviously. It will always be special, no question about that.

But my two Ryder Cup experiences are magnificent. I'm very fortunate to be part of two winning teams and two great captains and two great teams. I've made a lot of friends through the Ryder Cup. I've got to know a lot of players better than I have before, and I think all the players can say the same. There's definitely a different bonding among players who play the Ryder Cup together, I certainly feel it, anyway.

Q. Inaudible?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it is, obviously I'm in good position to make the team. I've had a great start, but as I've said many, many times, I think this is going to be strongest team ever. I think there's so many guys capable of making it who are all very good and certainly good enough to make the team. And they will all be pushing for spots. I think it's quite significant the last time where nobody sort of backed out of the team. There was six or seven guys playing great up to it with only one or two spots left. Nobody seems to back out of the Ryder Cup anymore. Everybody wants to get into it and play and I think it will be no different this time. You'll have guys coming up with a big win and all of a sudden they are in 25th place and then they are in 13th or 14th and got a victory like I did last time; I came on strong pretty much at the end to make the team.

I think we'll have a very, very strong European Team, as obviously the Americans will be very strong, they're buoyed having won the Presidents Cup; Tom Lehman is going to be a big captain, very influential.

But I want to put that away in a compartment in my head, that's a long way down the road. This really the start of my European season, and I'm looking forward to it. I think we'll have good weather this week, great golf course, and you knows? it's important that I play well and take care of business between now and then and make sure I'm on the team.

Q. Particulary after Ian Woosnam's loyalty to the Tour issue?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I read what he said and I think he's quite right. Lee and Padraig are two of the strongest players on the European Team. And just as Bernhard Langer did, he wants to have as many of his top players qualify in the Top 10 positions and then give him a bit of leeway with the picks.

I think he was just stating the obvious. They proved their loyalty to the Tour and they will be here in the future. I think our tour is in a stronger position than it's ever been before. I was at the players meeting last night, and I was buoyed by what George O'Grady said last night, looking at where we're coming from with the Tour and where we're going. And I think everybody Lee and Darren, the two that I mentioned, Lee and Padraig, and I'll be very surprised if they don't make it on merit to be honest but they are two of our better players and everybody wants them on the team.

Q. Is it a worry for the European Team with how many players are going for the five spots on the World Points List?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I don't think so, no. He has two picks at the end of the day as well, too. I think our team is shaping up extremely strongly already. And I think it will do even more as the summer goes on. I by no means feel that I'm on the team. I have a lot of work to do this summer to make it because there's a lot of players who are very well capable of making the team.

Q. Are you going to make sure you are not leading so you can make the FA Cup Final?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, I'm not going to, absolutely not. Yes, there's a provision; me, Darren and Thomas are going to go, but again, we can't make a decision until Friday night until we see exactly what we're going to do, see who is playing early, see who is playing late, one thing after another.

Yes, we have tickets, we are planning on going, but we'll just wait to see how the week pans out first. This is a golf tournament, a massive golf tournament, the cup final is secondary to a large extent. We'd like to go, but the major thing is the golf and we have to play well.

I think as a sportsman's point of view, the main reason I want to go is to be in part of a big atmosphere. As a sportsman, I got an adrenaline rush at the semifinals at Villa Park. To be in the middle of the West Ham fans you can see the passion, you can see the emotion in their faces. And I think as a sportsman, I can relate as to how people feel in a Ryder Cup situation, whatever the case may be. I love that passion, that commitment, whatever it may be. I love that and what's what sports is all about.

That's one of the main reasons I want to go but first things first, this is a very big golf tournament on a great golf course, and it's very important that I play well in this, and Darren and Thomas have the same view and the Cup final is very much secondary.

Q. Did you have any say in the tee off times on Saturday?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, that was a BBC decision. That decision was made well before West Ham got into the final. And as a West Ham fan you don't plans before they actually get there! And as I say, it's very much secondary. It would be nice to be, but the main thing is the golf this week. It's a golf tournament and we're not going to treat it second rate as a tournament. There's a lot of money at stake, but that's the first priority this week.

Q. Prediction?

PAUL McGINLEY: Prediction? I think it's going to be difficult for West Ham if Liverpool score first. I think watched them quite a lot this year. But my worry is if Liverpool scores first, I think they are very good at holding the lead and that would be my worry. But if we score first, I'm very buoyed at the way they have played this year. We have four or five strikers, which is great to have. There will be three great strikers on the bench. If West Ham scores first, it will be brilliant; if Liverpool scores first, it might die a little bit.

STEVEN FRANKLIN: Thank you very much. Good luck, Paul.

End of FastScripts.

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