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May 22, 2008

Paul McGinley


MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, beautiful day and course record, must be pleased with the start.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, obviously I'm thrilled. I've struggled most of the year with poor first rounds, or not poor ones, but medium first rounds and the standard is so high on Tour now you seem to get behind the 8-ball very quickly. I'm just thrilled more than anything to get off to a good start in a tournament, because it's been a long time since I've done that.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: You've been playing really well.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, my stats have been great this year. I don't know if I'm leading, but I was leading; I'm certainly first or second or third or somewhere up there, anyway, don't know what it was after last week but in greens in regulation, fairways hit, as well, too, I'm right up there. My underlying stats have been great, and my results haven't really matched the stats I've played. But I'm long enough in the game that if my stats are going to be that good, I'm going to have my weeks.

Q. Best round since, when?
PAUL McGINLEY: My best round, I don't know. I mean, I played really well at The Open last year and had a lot of good rounds in there, too.
I don't know, yes, it's a great round and I'm thrilled, but I don't feel like it's the best I've ever played.

Q. Best round since when?
PAUL McGINLEY: Probably The Open last year was the last time I played really well, and scored well as well as playing well.

Q. You're the only player who has gone bogey-free; playing tricky?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, very tricky. When it's playing hard and fast like this, I think this is a real test of golf, a real proper test of golf, because you're not tested enough on course management anymore on a lot of courses we play because they are soft and one-dimensional. Whereas, this is old-style golf. This is links golf.
This is what the game was initially designed around and I revel in it, because I think you've got to not only play the shots and have the ball control, but you have to have the course management, as well. I love conditions this tough -- or this firm, I mean.

Q. You don't seem to be beating yourself up that the results were not as good as they should have been?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, probably a bit of experience, I know if my stats are going to be that good all year, I'm going to have my good weeks and it hasn't happened for me yet in a tournament but it's a long summer. It's a long summer and I'll just keep going along and playing my golf and wait till things starting to right.

Q. I know you keep saying Ryder Cup is a long way from your thoughts, but when you get off to a start like this, a good finish here would push you up; must be in there somewhere.
PAUL McGINLEY: It's in the future. It's right in the back of my head to be honest. I'm not even close to being on the team at the moment. I have got to have a hell of a summer to make it. It's not on the horizon. I have a few more hurdles to jump before I can think about Ryder Cup.

Q. After your decision last year to step down from Vice Captaincy, you must feel that you need that pushing?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I've love to make that team. I've had three wonderful experiences in the Ryder Cup. I couldn't have had better experiences to be honest. I had three brilliant captains and I've love to play a fourth.

Q. At THE PLAYERS Championship, you saw a similar course prepared hard and fast. Do you think a message is starting to get through?
PAUL McGINLEY: I hope so, Derek, I hope so, because everyone just thinks 7,500 yards is the key and is the secret to the future of golf. They talk about Tiger-proofing the courses by making them 7,500; they are playing more into his hands doing that.
Firm and fast, as I've said so many times before; I've been quoted, when the conditions are soft, and the ball -- we can control the ball from A to B, we're in control. But when the ball lands at B and then rolls to C, D, E and F, that's what makes it difficult for us, and that's what brings the luck and element of chance and course management back into it.
To me, I've been saying this for years, that's what makes golf courses tough for us. It's not about 7,500 yards with water everywhere and really tough, tough long 4-irons into very small greens.
For me, personally, big heavy rough, as well, too around the greens, to me it's run-off areas, firmness and there's so much progress being made in all kind of designs of life, surely there must be somebody out there who can come up with something about drying a golf course quickly. I know we have a sub-air system around the greens, but maybe something around the fairways, too.
I would love to see the game going along that way. I think that's what the game was designed around. But that's my personal view and other guys would disagree. It's a strong argument; if somebody has a disagreement, that's fine. But my views are that course management should be the major thing and with conditions like this, course management becomes a big factor: 2-irons off tee; 3-wood off tee; take a gamble with the driver and all those kind of things. If you don't quite hit it in the middle of the fairway, it will bounce off into the rough and then you're coming out of the rough with a semi-flyer lie into a rock-hard green and tucked pin; that to me is the challenge of the game.

Q. Has it almost become more chess-like, a day like today, and do you believe the players today are not being asked to use their intelligence often enough?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, but it's not their fault. It's not the players' fault. We play what we are given. Yes, it's very much chess-like, very much: Ball control, chess-like, course management, use your brain, use your head, don't get it on the right side of the pin, don't miss on the wrong side of the pin, all of those things come into the equation. If you have soft greens, doesn't matter where you can miss it; you get it up-and-down. But today out there, if you miss it on the short-side you have to hole a 15-footer, 20-footer to get it up-and-down, no matter how good of a chip shot you hit, unless you hole it obviously.
That's my view. That's my view on the game and that's where I think the game should be going. It's just a strong view and an opinion I have on the game.

Q. Is it where you hit it today, rather than how far?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, distance is always important and by no means should distance be diminished. It is a very important facet of the game, and then when you hit the ball a long way and straight, you should be rewarded. But there should be a gamble, as well where if you do miss it you're going to suffer the consequences.
I think the R&A are starting to decide whether to cut back now and whether to go to the V-grooves. To me I think that's the wrong decision. It has to go V-grooves so the guys hitting in the rough don't get the spin. I don't know even why they are questioning it. They gave a big presentation last year about it, but now I understand they are starting to back off that decision and I hope that's not the case.

Q. All the par 5s reachable in two today?
PAUL McGINLEY: They were all on in two, absolutely, yeah. Probably 17, yeah, you've got to really sling it right-to-left with your second shot now. But I had a very hard, strong left-to-right lie and trying to move the ball right-to-left off a left-to-right lie is not something I fancied, so that's why I hit a 5-iron second shot.

Q. You spent a lot of time working on your game with Pau Hurrion at The Belfry, how's that going?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's my putting really. Paul has really totally transformed my putting and I'm toting totally different than I putted before. I putted beautifully today and although my stat are not great this year and don't feel I've putted really well, it's a new way of putting and understanding of putting and Paul has been a really big help.

Q. Have you done any biomechanical work before to this level?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I haven't. A lot of my fitness now is structured around biomechanics which I haven't done before. I've always been fit but I'm working on a more biomechanical way now, too. As I said I haven't shown results for that yet.

Q. Is it getting any easier?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, as I say, I feel I really putted well today. I really putted nicely. I didn't put lights out but I putted very nicely and I'm very pleased with that. If I can put that way every day, I'd be thrilled.

Q. Talking about biomechanical, what is that?
PAUL McGINLEY: Posture alignment, setting the club up around you, all that kind of stuff. That kind of stuff, so I have the putter built especially for me now and that's basically it, posture, particularly.

Q. How many weeks would you say you turn up and you get depressed by the 7,500-one-dimensional monster in front of you, is it the majority?
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't get depressed because it's there to be played, and by no means can I not win on those courses. I've played well on those courses in the past.
But you know, I'm not going to change the world. I play what's given. You know, if you asked me for this opinion last week when nobody was listening or two weeks ago when nobody was listening, I'm giving the same opinion. I'm just saying, now I'm in a press conference, and it's a view I've had very strongly on the Tour that professional golf is not about length. It's about -- sorry, let me correct that.
It is about length. Length is a very important facet but you've got to have ball control and you've got to have course management, and I don't think there's enough of that in the professional game at the moment?

Q. Putting it another way, the majority of courses, like you say, are they one-dimensional, the majority of the courses is this?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, they are.

Q. Is that an overwhelming majority or just a few exceptions?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, it's a majority, quite a substantial majority.

Q. How did they get to the state?
PAUL McGINLEY: Obviously it's a reaction to technology, and to me it's not a proper understanding of what technology has done to the game. I mean, we spoke about this it before; it's an over reaction to technology if you ask me.
As I say, I've love to see somebody coming out, some really clever engineer out there finding way, way to dry out a golf course very quickly, as opposed to just putting -- using an American term -- buying more real estate and just putting in new tee boxes in left right and center.
Certainly I think with the advent of new technology, some tee boxes are certainly very justified. But there's got to be a balance.

Q. Your best two examples of course management today?
PAUL McGINLEY: No. 6, even though it was only a pitching wedge, I knew that I couldn't miss that pin right and I hit it 20 feet pin-high left. I didn't make the putt. Graeme missed it right there and there was no way he was going to get up-and-down unless he holed a 20-footer. I was 20 feet left, I aimed at a TV tower, I didn't feel with the firmness of the green and pitching with the back of the bunker on the right-hand side that I could have stopped it anywhere close on that; and if I did leak it a little bit and it caught it up on the right-hand side, it was treacherous.
It was several things, like keeping a low 2-iron and draining -- trying to drill a 2-iron low up the firm fairways and get benefit of that, as opposed to hitting a driver or 3-wood and coming this way, I was trying to hit it this way low and let it bounce quickly so that it would chase up the fairway. They are the kind of things I am talking about.

Q. It sounds it's more fun, as well.
PAUL McGINLEY: For me. I mean, this is my opinion. Guys can come in here later and have different opinions and if they have a different opinion, that's fine. This is Paul McGinley's opinion and that's it. For me it's more fun, yes. I like to be challenged with course management and ball control and you know that if you miss it short-side you're going to pay the price.

Q. How many 2-irons did you hit?
PAUL McGINLEY: Quite a lot actually. I hit them on No. 7, I hit a 2-iron. No. 8, I hit a 3-iron. No. 9, I hit a 2-iron. No. 15, I hit a 2-iron. No. 16, I hit a 2-iron and that was it.

Q. Just back to the Ryder Cup, if you don't make the team by right, do you think your decision on the Vice Captaincy will affect your chances for a wildcard?
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know about that. I'd be very surprised. As I said before, there's no animosity between me and Nick. He understood totally why I stood down and it was best for me, I need to clear the decks. I much prefer sitting here talking to you about having a good round of golf than sitting in that chair last year talking about being a vice captain; this is a lot more fun.

Q. You've had a pretty good record in this event, and also went pretty close at The Match Play, do you feel as though when you drive through the front gates that the course owes you something.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, obviously I live close here now and I love Wentworth. It's a fantastic golf course. I'm always very welcome here. The people look after me well when I come up here. I'm a member of the gym and the health club here, so I'm here regularly. I like it. I've always liked it from the first day I saw it. I think it's a wonderful golf course.

Q. And In terms of the fact that you feel as though the course owes you a victory?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, the game's too big for that. The game doesn't owe anything. You've got to earn everything you get in the game. I just go out and do the best I can and whatever happens, happens. No, the game certainly doesn't owe me anything.

Q. Why is it more fun sitting where you are now than where you were sitting?
PAUL McGINLEY: Because I'm not ready to be a back room staff. I feel there's a lot more good golf left in me and I don't want to be seen as an administrative role. I really enjoy the competition and I really enjoy playing well. I love playing on The European Tour and I love playing the American tour, and I just feel I have a lot more to give in the game than -- I don't feel I'm ready for that role yet.
In the future hopefully I'll get my chances to do all those things, but I do feel that I want to play golf, absolutely and that was why I made that decision.

Q. What's your take on all of the Irish success so far this year and have you been feeling left out?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, I haven't been feeling left out and I a.m. thrilled for the guys that won. Smashing guys. I played with Graeme when he won in Korea, and he played superb in the last round and it was a great win for him.
Damien is a warrior. I have the utmost respect for Damien. He's come through the hard way, through the assistant pro way. He's had to fight for everything he's got, and he's got it, he's earned it. He's made a living and he's established himself on the Tour and now he's gone onto win of.
The thing that impressed me the most, the win, was Peter's. Damien and Peter room together every single week. They are very best friends on Tour. I spoke to Peter at the start of the Spanish Open and he felt really left out that Damien had caught one up on him. And for him to go out and win such a big tight in a very strong field, I was thrilled for him.
I think that was -- Seville, talking about golf courses, Seville to me was one of the best-conditioned golf courses I've ever played on The European Tour. That was a great test, as well, so we've been fortunate with good weather at the last three our four tournaments that good, strong conditions, conditions that I like, we've had it in Portugal with great heat and strong firm conditions and we had it in Seville and in Ireland last week which was a brilliant tournament and a brilliant golf course, and we've got it again this week. Long may this good weather continue.

Q. 50 years since Harry Bradshaw won -- do you believe in nice round numbers like that?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, if you're a Man United fan, they believed last night, didn't they.
No, I have so far to go. Winning, there's such a mass of golf between where I am now sitting here as the leader and finishing on Sunday night as the champion so I know from experience, I'm not going to go there. There's a lot of steps to be taken between now and then and I don't even want to think about it or go there. If I'm going to get anywhere near it, I'm going to have to play the quality of golf I played today for another three days.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Paul, good luck with those steps.

End of FastScripts

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