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May 17, 2006

Paul McGinley


GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, there's no easy way to say this - I'm sure you had better weeks than last week after the British Masters and the FA Cup Final. It wasn't ideal.

PAUL McGINLEY: Obviously disappointed. As I said all along, my main priority was the golf, my main priority was to play well. It's a big tournament. The golf course has been good to me, my game was in really good shape. But, you know, I think I made four birdies in two days. You've got to be making more than that, and that's been a problem for me this year. I'm only averaging two birdies a round. You know, you're under pressure to make cuts. The cuts are so tight. I've missed the last two cuts by a shot. I had three birdies in two rounds in Hilton Head and four last week.

If I made my normal birdies of seven or eight, all of a sudden I'm up into the Top 10 over the weekend, never mind missing the cut. That's what's been happening. I obviously went to the match (Liverpool v West Ham) over the weekend to try to take my mind off it. Obviously as a West Ham fan, I was hugely disappointed, massively disappointed. My heart really sank when Gerrard scored that goal in the first minute.

But it was a good occasion. As I said before, I love the passion of sport and I think certainly that was a very passionate sporting occasion. I was right in the middle of all the West Ham fans and it was a great experience. As a sportsman, I think seeing different sports at that level and the intensity and looking at it from the other side in, looking from the crowd in. I think it's important to experience that as a sportsman.

GORDON SIMPSON: So if you're a golfing Steven Gerrard this week, you'll probably win the title.

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I'll be holing a 4 iron on the last.

Q. Do you need to work on much?

PAUL McGINLEY: My golf is in really good shape to be honest. But I've got to do it on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. There's no point in me sitting here saying, yeah, I'm playing well, I'm doing this, I'm doing that. I've got to do it, I've got to produce results. At the moment I'm not producing results. It's disappointing. It's hugely disappointing because I feel I deserve better the way I'm playing, but I'm not doing it. Until I start doing it, there's no point in talking about it. So I've just got to produce better, bottom line.

Q. Michael Campbell said he likes it when people whinge in the locker room - do you hope to hear that too?

PAUL McGINLEY: I hope so. I hope to have as many whinging as possible. At the end of the week as always is the case, somebody is going to be walking away happy from Carton House. I hope it's going to be me. I'm prepared for good weather, for bad weather, whatever it throws at me, I'm ready for it. I've played well in the past. It's going to be strong winds, apparently, too. The golf course is in immaculate condition. There's still a tournament to be won.

Q. What does it do for you if people complain?

PAUL McGINLEY: I think it gives me an advantage if everyone else's head is off about it. I won't be. That's fine. We've been unfortunate with the Irish Open weather the last number of years, and it looks like we're going to be the same again this year but nobody can control that. The more fellas lose their head, the better.

Q. Do you dwell on setbacks?

PAUL McGINLEY: There's no point in me saying I can forget about next week; of course you do. You build on momentum. You build on what's happening. I've missed four cuts in a row, two of them by a shot. But as I say, I haven't been producing enough birdies. Like a soccer team, playing well but not scoring any goals. That's the bottom line. And until I start doing it, I'm not going to compete. If you're going to compete in a golf tournament, you have to be having four or five birdies a round, no matter how tough the golf course is. That's what the really good players do when they play well. That's what I do when I play well. I've got to start doing that to win a tournament.

Q. Is it your putting?

PAUL McGINLEY: No, my putting is not a major issue. I don't think I'm reading the putts as well as I'd like to. I think a lot of it is momentum and confidence. You get on runs, you get on runs. I haven't been on a run. I don't think I've been on a run this year. But I will get a run. I'll get a run at some stage and my confidence will lift and off I'll go. The first hurdle I just missed the cut barely last week and the same in the MCI by a shot each time. Both times, I nearly made birdies the last few holes to make it.

So that's the kind of little lift you need to make the cut on the mark maybe to have a big weekend. I did that on several occasions last year, made the cut on the mark, had big weekends and go on to play well from there. Not everybody does that, that's just me.

Nowadays, the cuts, when I first came on Tour, the difference between making the cut and leader is 11, 12 shots. Now it's down to seven and eight shots. You take Paul Casey out of it last week, I think second place was 7 under par and the cut was par, so seven shots between second place and par is a pretty thin line. But that's the standard you're playing at.

Missing cuts doesn't mean you're playing absolutely horrendously. You don't have to play really badly to make a cut anymore. But you want to get on the right side of it. I feel like I've been playing better than just finally making a cut. I've got to do it as I say on Thursday.

Q. Is that what you need - more birdies?

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, there is par 5s here, they are on in two, whatever way the wind is blowing, they are going to be helping us on par 5s. There's a drivable par 4 as well, too. There is birdie opportunities out there. I think there are more birdie opportunities than there was at The Belfry last week to be honest.

It's all about conversion, giving yourself opportunities and then converting them. I feel I haven't been giving myself opportunities so I haven't been converting. And it's not really a problem with my putting. I think a lot of it is confidence and momentum.

Q. Are you nervy about The Ryder Cup?

PAUL McGINLEY: Of course I'm nervy, very. I've missed four cuts in a row. I'm not going to stand here and say no, I'm not. I have a lot of respect for the players behind me in the ranking tables and I'm looking over my shoulder to be quiets honest, yeah. I've got to play better. I've got to produce better. There's no two ways about it. The job's not done. I've always said that. I've always said I had to play well this year to do it. So far, I haven't done it. Yeah, of course.

Q. What do you need in terms of points?

PAUL McGINLEY: In terms of points I've always said 1.5 million I think would be the mark. I'm 1.2 now. I think it may even be more than that. Luckily for me, nobody is really closing the gap massively. Last week was a good result for a Ryder Cup spot from my point of view. But the destiny is in my hands. I can't rely on anyone else. I'm in a much stronger position than the two previous times I've made the team. It's up to me. The ball's in my court, I've got to do it.

GORDON SIMPSON: One strong week at this time of year.

PAUL McGINLEY: But I'm not looking at one strong week. I'm looking at certainly I deserve to be on that team as far as I'm concerned, but I have to play my way to it, I've got to prove it. And I'm looking onwards from there, not just making the team. That's certainly one of the goals, but I've got to move on from that and win tournaments again. Six months since I've won a tournament, it would be nice to win again.

Q. Can one shot turn it around, or is there something else needed?

PAUL McGINLEY: A little bit of momentum, here and there. I'm not going to overanalyze it too much and think that it's one shot here or there. I've got to get some results, that's the bottom line. I don't think there's any problem with my game. I'm not that particularly worried about my game. I think I'm swinging the club well. I'm working hard on my short game, practicing really hard, working out in the gym. I'm in good shape and I'm doing all the right things. So far I haven't got the results and as I say, I've got to do it on the golf course.

Q. You played the course yesterday, what do you think of the changes

PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I didn't notice a huge amount. I thought the golf course was in fabulous condition. The greens are as good as I've putted anywhere in the world. All credit to John Plummer here who has done a great job. I really like the golf course. I've always said that. It's penal if you miss fairways. But it also gives you opportunities as well, too. I think it's a very well designed golf course and a course I really enjoy. It's just a shame about the weather. Hopefully the crowds will get going, we'll get an atmosphere here, and no better way to do that than having an Irishman in contention.

End of FastScripts.

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