July 8, 2006
GORDON SIMPSON: As you can see, Paul has made a real big move this morning with a round of 67, and as he's just mentioned, none of us expected to see him here probably, least of all probably Paul himself. Tell us what happened last night, because I think it took an eagle at the 7th to get to that stage.
PAUL McGINLEY: I played all right. Another week of not much happening. Playing decent but nothing special. You know, I've been saying all along I need to improve the quality and standards of my golf and today was the best I've played for a long, long time. I hit practically every green today. I hit one fringe six inches off the green and hit every other green, so 17 greens and one fringe which is a pretty good standard, in blustery conditions this morning.
What happened yesterday, I was 91st when I left the course. It was windy but it wasn't blowing a hoolie like we are anticipating this afternoon. So there was not much chance to be quite honest. There was no way I was making the cut. I was going to miss by one. I knew 1 would make it.
I went to the airport. My kids sports day is on today so that's what I was rushing back for, so I was going home for that. I was on a 5:00 flight. It was delayed till 5:45, and at quarter past five my wife phoned me and said the scores are tumbling here. You'd better hang around. It's now at this stage I was 72nd. So I spoke to the guys in Aer Lingus, who were brilliant; no problem. They took me off the flight. I had two bags, obviously one was my clothes and one was my golf clubs. I was taking the golf clubs back to practice over the weekend. Normally I send them with the caddies, but because I missed the cut, I wanted to practice so I took them home. Everybody knows it was chaos yesterday with the bomb scare, so they found my case quite quickly and they said, look, we'll deliver the golf clubs down later this afternoon, which they did. The golf clubs came about 7:00 last night and I was so that was it. I was very near the flight. If the flight had not about been delayed, I probably would have gone.
GORDON SIMPSON: When did you know you made the cut, at what point?
PAUL McGINLEY: About 6 o'clock, which is 45 minutes later after the flight had gone. There's regular services back but I know the flights are very busy. Alison, she was meant to come over yesterday with the kids, she couldn't get a flight last night, so was going to come this morning. I'm sure I could have pulled some strings to get her on. The guys at Aer Lingus were great. They made it a top priority it track down my golf clubs in the chaos at the airport yesterday. It was a great start to play well this morning after that episode.
GORDON SIMPSON: The position you were in with three holes to play, that would have been interesting.
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know. I just kept looking, 1 over had a good chance. The scoring was particularly good the first day. We played in wind the afternoon the first day and I knew the scores were lopsided on their side of the draw. Still quite amazed I made the cut to be honest. It wasn't windy by all accounts but it wasn't blowing an absolute gale.
GORDON SIMPSON: What did you have at 7?
PAUL McGINLEY: Lob wedge from 76 yards, something like that.
Q. Were you sitting on the plane?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I was, my was flight was delayed 45 minutes. At 5:45 I was sitting with everybody else, and I got a phone call half an hour before the flight was due to take off and I went to the guys at Aer Lingus, and no problem. He tracked it down.
Q. Did you do anything different today?
PAUL McGINLEY: Everybody knows that is momentum and to be quite honest, what did I do differently today? Nothing. I mean, mentally I was pretty much the same. The quality of my golf was pretty much the same. And it happened, you know. I'd make pretty decent swings and the ball was heading towards the pin. I just, I can't figure it out. I can't figure it out. Really, honestly, was I more of a buzz this morning than I have been any other day? Absolutely not. Did I know I was going to play well before I went out? No. Did I feel any differently before I went out? No. I can't figure this game out. (Laughter).
PAUL McGINLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Q. Do you see this as a big break?
PAUL McGINLEY: As I say the big thing is not so much getting a break making the cut. The big thing was the quality of my golf today went up to what I'm capable of doing and I haven't been doing that the last three or four months.
As I've said to you, I don't feel it's pressure for the Ryder Cup. I've lost my form. I was playing poorly. I wasn't putting very well. You know, I'd hit a bad shot; it would end up in the water, end up in an unplayable lie. Just the game wasn't running for me.
This morning I got into a rhythm and I played, as I said, I played lovely. I played lovely. I don't know what the difference is. If you ask me what the difference is
Q. Can you bottle it?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I don't think you can bottle it. You just go out tomorrow and see what happens. The one thing that's given me a big buzz is I've played quality golf. Even in my practice and even at my rounds at Sunningdale at home when I'm practicing in between tournaments, I'm not playing well; I'm not shooting 66s and 65s around Sunningdale when I'm playing well. I'm doing the same in Pro Ams and I'm doing the same in tournaments.
The last two or three months I've been trying to shoot a score in the Pro Am, trying to get my momentum, trying to get going. It hasn't been happening. Peaks and troughs. I don't know. As I say, I can't figure it out.
But I kept saying all along, peaks and troughs and I will come back to form. I've had a good day today. It is a base. It's given me definitely a boost, because as I say, of the quality I've played. More so than the score to be honest; the quality of golf I've played and I know I'm capable again. I've proved to myself that I am on the right tracks and I'm not doing anything different. There's nothing funky going on. That's what's been the big boost for me mentally today. I wasn't doing anything different. I haven't done anything different to shoot today's score. That's what makes me happy that I got a good score doing the same things that I've been doing.
Q. Did you benefit from the tees being moved forward?
PAUL McGINLEY: Not really. If you look at the scoring this morning, I think one other guy was 4 under. Other than that, the scores were very moderate. Still was a tough golf course out there. The tees were moved up on a few holes, yes, but it was still quite windy and blustery. It wasn't ideal conditions. I wore a wooly hat and mittens the whole way around. It wasn't ideal conditions.
Q. Woosie said he would put his arm round you and have a chat. Was that a factor this week?
PAUL McGINLEY: It was a factor but in a positive way. I think he handled the situation great. If you're trying to make the team and that's what your captain did, I'd be very happy. As I say, he was supportive of me, but he wasn't on my case. He wasn't, you know, he was giving me freedom to go and fly and that's what you want from a captain. You don't want to feel under pressure and I didn't feel that way. Much the same as Langer did as well. Langer spoke to me quite a lot in the campaign leading up to the last Ryder Cup, and also Sam did as well, too. So the captain's role is very important, even now, in terms of how the team formulates and things like that. He's playing his captain's role already.
Q. Did you think the ball might have spun back into the water on 18?
PAUL McGINLEY: I was surprised how much it spun. The problem was, I had I could easily have got on the green in two but I had such a downslope on the lie and straight downwind where I was over water. It wasn't a percentage shot. I was laying it up to leave myself 80 yards. I hit a 7 iron 220 yards. I mean, when do you ever do that? And left myself a horrendous yardage of 64 yards, 55 to the front, over water, and the pin on nine.
My big issue then was spinning the ball enough to pitch it on to the green and stop it short of the green. You can see, I really went after it to try to spin it. I spun it so much, stopped dead on the first bounce. I was expecting a good five or six yard bounce and then a check, but I spun it, it stopped straightaway.
Q. Was your 66 in the Irish Open two years ago the most important of your life?
PAUL McGINLEY: Was that the most important round in terms of qualifying? It certainly gave me momentum, but I think the most important round I played was my last round of the US PGA where I jumped from about 20th place to about fourth or fifth and I made a check for 250,000. And I think that was the most important because it was a tough golf course, obviously a major and I made a big jump there.
Yes, it did give me momentum. But the following week in Sweden I played poorly again, so I did lose it again. But the US PGA was probably the most important to jump up and finish fourth or fifth in the US PGA; that actually put me in the team. From there I could only work my way out of it from that spot.
Q. You said at the end of last year that you felt your best golf is ahead of you, but it hasn't happened?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I've had a slump, there's no question or doubt about it. I've had a slump. I haven't been producing the golf that I know I'm capable of doing. I've analysed every part of my life and every part of my game. Have I done something different? And the answer, as I say, I keep coming up no. Am I doing anything differently mentally? No. What's gone on off the golf course, anything big there? No. I'm just into a trough.
I've played golf that I know I'm a much better player of doing. I've putted poorly. That started it. I went on a bad run with the putter, and of course that put pressure on rest of my game. My golf game tee to green never really went that sour, but my putting went really sour.
Chopped and changed putters I changed putters this week for the first time which is a big thing for me to change putters. I've been using a new golf ball and I worried about that. I thought, you know, maybe that's it. This week I put the old golf ball in, haven't used well I've been using the TaylorMade since The Masters, the new golf ball that's just come out.
Probably the one thing that was outstanding in terms of am I doing something differently is the fact that I changed golf balls. So I spoke with the TaylorMade people this week and said, look, I've got to go back to the Titleist golf ball again and see if that is if that makes a difference. So I played that the first two rounds and the old Titleist. Obviously still shot mediocre scores, so I went back to the TaylorMade this morning which I'm very pleased to see. I'm sure TaylorMade are very pleased, as well. I did use the TaylorMade ball. I have used Titleist the last two days. So it's not the golf ball.
Q. Can you see a difference?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's very, very similar. What you find now in the ball market is Titleist were head and shoulders above everybody else for a while. The rules are now so strong that they are finding it hard go forward from there. So a lot of manufacturers are coming right up behind, Callaway, TaylorMade, Srixon. There are a lot of manufacturers coming up behind Titleist now in the ball market, and TaylorMade is one of them.
I'm pleased, obviously I'm contracted with that ball, and it performed exactly how I wanted it today in how it was in the wind. I did have a question mark over it. It was probably the only thing that I've changed in the last six month the.
Q. When did you start using it?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, I used it from the NEC last year, so it's almost a year.
Q. Which putter did you switch to?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's one of those 2ball Callaway putters. Have I putted great? No. As I say I hit nearly 18 greens today and made a few putts. But nothing substantial. Longest putt was ten feet. So still have a bit of work to do on that putter. The putter needs to get hot again.
Q. You say you've analysed every part of your game
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, yeah, it does give me a lot of peace of mind. As I say the things that I was doing, I wasn't doing anything different. I haven't done anything different today and I got a different result.
All I can put it down to is just peaks and troughs that every sportsman goes through. There's not a sportsman playing any sport that hasn't gone through peaks and troughs. I've gone through a trough. I went through a great peak end of last year where I was in contention nearly every tournament I played in. I've gone through a trough, and now hopefully I'm entering into another peak because I need it.
PAUL McGINLEY: 16, second shot but the 4th hole, the one shot that I did drop. I hit a super little second shot from there, trying to play it off the slope, and my ball stayed 20 feet from the pin on the very top of a slope and I had no putt. I barely touched the next putt and it went eight feet by. I missed the putt.
So, no, there wasn't anything substantially in terms of look that, went my way. Yeah, I've got a good run in off the bank there on that hole, but no, I don't think luck was a big factor today.
It may be in case in terms of the draw, if it does slow this afternoon and I jump up that leaderboard. It is a fact that I'm still here because it didn't from 91st leaving the course yesterday, it's so unusual. Any of the press guys around here will say who have been watching the Tour for a long time, it's so unusual to go from 91st to make the cut. That's luck. That's luck. You can only put that down to luck.
GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, thank you very much.
End of FastScripts.