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June 4, 2009

Paul McGinley


Q. What are your thoughts after that today?
PAUL McGINLEY: I'm obviously pleased to shoot a good score after a horrific start, a triple-bogey on the second hole is never much fun. It's a long day after that.
I played well. But I've got to play better. I can play better than I did today. I putted well and I kept the ball in play, but I didn't really crunch it the way I know I can. So overall, the score was good. That was the main thing.

Q. And to respond well to adversity, as well, that tells you something, doesn't it.
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, there's been a lot of adversity recently. I have not had a great season so far.

Q. What do you think has been the problem this year?
PAUL McGINLEY: I haven't played well enough, bottom line, a bit like today. I throw in a couple of high numbers, and they come from bad shots. I've got to play better.
My game is not many miles away. I can play 14 good holes like I've been doing most days but I'll have three or four holes where I'll drop five shots in four holes, and it's hard to shoot a good score when you do that. So I need to play better, that's the bottom line.

Q. How frustrating has the period been?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's frustrating, because as I said it's 14 really good holes most days, and I played practice rounds, it's the same things.
Even in Pro-Ams, I seem to be not able to shoot 18 holes if I play well. If I do miss a green, it seems to be in a tough spot to get up-and-down or if I do miss a fairway, it's a hack out. And I need to hit more fairways and hit more greens.

Q. Obviously there's an element of disappointment around the fact that there are only two or three players in the world's Top-50 here this week. Do you see that as a problem wearing your Tour hat, or as an opportunity this week?
PAUL McGINLEY: It's a problem. There's no doubt about it. We didn't have the quality of field at Wentworth that that tournament deserves.
Obviously Padraig had his reasons and that's fine, I'm not going to criticise him for that, and Sergio, as well, too. But you know, in these economic times, it's tough to -- all of the sponsors are facing the same problem, but in America as well, too, trying to get the top players to play more regularly.
Now my personal opinion is I think it starts with the World Rankings. The World Ranking systems does not reward guys who play a lot of tournaments. It's very hard to have a high point average in the World Rankings if you play 30 events a year, and I think that's where the problem starts. Until we can find a system that doesn't penalise guys for playing a lot of tournaments, we're going to have this problem.

Q. I sensed last week that this is the kind of thing that is really going to start to force its way on to the agenda of the tournament committee.
PAUL McGINLEY: I think so. It's not for me to say. I'm only a small voice in that. Talk to the chairman or George or somebody about that. But yes, I think in these economic times when people are putting up a lot of money as they are this week, you want strong fields. Yes, of course it's great to concentrate on the majors, but you know, at the end of the day, we have to have better quality fields than we are having in Europe.
This year hasn't been too bad so far. I'm just hoping during the summer, the French Opens and those kind of events are going to be supported as well, too. Because it is very important to produce as strong a quality field as we can.
It is a problem; it is an issue; but it's not a major issue. I think the field at Wentworth is still very, very strong. We still had a lot of strong players there and we had a Masters Champion which was wonderful. But it is a problem, but in my personal opinion, I think it starts with the World Rankings.

Q. Can you talk specifically about today's round; what happened, just one bad shot?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it was a bad shot. It's a tough hole, 480-yard par 4. Water up the left and I hit it in the water left, and unfortunately for me, I didn't carry -- it didn't sling it in the water. I sort of started it in the water and it finished in the water, so I had to re-tee the ball. So it was like an out-of-bounds shot.
I then hit my drive just off the fairway in the right, got a really bad lie and had to hack it out and hit a 9-iron for my fifth shot and two putts. It was like an out-of-bounds shot to be honest because it did not cross the hazard at any point.

Q. Take us through that run of birdies and the eagle.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, the birdies were 5-iron to three feet was the first birdie.
And then I drove the par 4, hit it on to the green to 30 feet and two putts.
And then 17, I hit a 7-iron to about 18 feet.
And 18, I hit a 3-wood to 12 feet.

Q. What are your thoughts generally on this place as a Ryder Cup venue?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I mean, it's good. This will be a great viewing place, that's for sure. There will be great access points. Just look at the banks on the 18th green. That's going to be fabulous there when that's crowded and full.
Yeah, it's a good design. They did have a problem with all of the hills before, but it is a good golf course, yeah.

Q. Monty was saying to us yesterday he wants four vice captains. You did say, as well, he would ask for you and Thomas to be captains at the Vivendi with an eye to the future; so he's obviously broached the subject.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, it's something that's there in the back of my mind. I mean, as I said before, I really want to make that team. I would love to play under Monty. I've played under great captains as everybody knows and I think Monty is going to be a great captain and I would love to play under him.
But I have taken this position of being the captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Team. As I said before, I don't know how good of a captain I'm going to be. I certainly have strong ideas and views as to why the teams have been successful and look forward to putting them into place.
I think The European Team that week is going to be particularly strong. There's two or three of our team, Britain and Ireland Team, that will be missing because they will be playing in the FedEx in America. But the Europeans don't have any of their players missing. It's going to be a very strong field, I'm hoping to play that.
I lost the Royal Trophy this year, my first one.

Q. Would you be tempted to take the advice captaincy and see how it all pans out; that is one alternative.
PAUL McGINLEY: No. That won't be on the agenda until after the qualification system finish, and then Monty is going to announce who his vice captains are going to be after that.
Obviously he's picked myself and Thomas to be involved in the Vivendi, or the Seve as I like to call it. You know, I don't think you have to put one and one together. I'm obviously in his mind somewhere in terms of those four people that he's going to have.

Q. The qualifying system -- is it a distraction?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I wasn't ready for it then. I feel I'm in a better position now. If it does happen, then I'm going to be vice captain. You know, at least I've given the whole qualification system a full hundred per cent go, and I'm not sort of go in half-hearted.
I'm a lot more comfortable trying to make the team this year, and whatever happens after that, happens. 31st of August, whenever the last date is at the end of next year, that's when I'll be able to make a decision and that's when I'll decide but in the meantime, it's gung-ho trying to make the team.

Q. Coming here, also a Ryder Cup course, does that sort of help to kick-start, because obviously you showed a bit of form.
PAUL McGINLEY: As I say my game has not been that bad this year. If you are seeing me play or watch me play, you'll say Christ Almighty, why are you having such a moderate year? Because I'm hitting the ball well and I'm chipping well and putting well. But I haven't put it all together it has been frustrating and it has not happened yet.
I'm well aware the way the system is now, a lot of points on one good week, and all of a sudden you're right backup into the Top-10 on the Order of Merit, and it can look like a good season and turn around very quickly. So I'm aware of that. I'm aware of that.

Q. Surprise you about the field this week, being a Ryder Cup venue?
PAUL McGINLEY: No, it doesn't surprise me. I really feel we are facing an issue, not just in Europe, and I'm not going to be critical of the boys who didn't play. I understand the big picture and to me, the big picture is World Rankings have become such a huge issue for players, contract-wise, in terms of bonuses and everything, all players contracts now are tied in with World Rankings. We all know that.
We all know that World Rankings determine who gets in certain events and who doesn't get in certain events, and players make a big push for that for World Ranking and World Ranking finishing position. It's a huge indicator now of where you are in professional golf.
So the World Rankings is at the foremost of a lot of players minds after winning tournaments. So at present, we have a system that rewards guys that basically play 20 events a year and play decently in those events, and it does not reward guys like Vijay Singh, who won four or five times in one season four or five years ago and didn't get to No. 1 in the World Rankings. And I think that's a problem, especially in times of recession where we should be encouraging guys to play, and at the moment, the World Rankings does not encourage you to play an extra three or four events.

Q. So the average --
PAUL McGINLEY: I'm not a mathematician and I don't know how it would work out, but they have got to find a system that does not penalise guys for playing more events. Because at the moment, the number of points you earn over a two-year period is divided by the number of events you've played. The divisory number is the number of events you play. They have got to find a way of getting around that system because that's what's happening at the moment.
I'd have a strong bet that you would have the top players in the world would play an extra two or three events in their schedule if they were not penalised like they are they are now for playing events. The whole thing is they pick their schedule, they pick a small number of events, they try to play well in those events and because they have played in a small number of events, that's their divisory number and their World Ranking remains high.
There's got to be a system in there. I'm not a mathematician. John Westwood might be the man to ask. But you need to come up with a system that does not penalise you for playing, and that's what's happening.
I don't care what anybody says; and they can say all they want, but I know as a player, I know how it works, and how it works is the more you play, and if you play moderately, finish 20th, 30th, 40th in an event, that can take away hugely from your World Ranking points because you've actually teed it up.
You had Ian Poulter last year playing in Singapore and his driver didn't break, and he said, I'm on the verge of Top-50 here, whatever the case may be, I don't want to affect my World Ranking position. He was there and in Singapore and ready to play, and because of the World Ranking system he didn't play, and that's not right. That's not a criticism of Poults at all. I'm not blaming him for that. But the system is there to show that that is the case. You get guys not playing the last two or three events of the year because they are afraid of falling out of the Top-50 and not getting into the Masters.

Q. Davis Love would have got in if he had not played.
PAUL McGINLEY: Davis Love goes and plays and gets penalised for playing. That is a problem, and I think that needs to be addressed for the sake of professional golf at the moment and not just on The European Tour. The Americans are facing the exact same problems. We are not isolated here. The Americans are facing the same problems.

Q. Do you think it could be agreed between the tours of the world, a system, if the Americans are suffering as well, do you think the Americans might come around --
PAUL McGINLEY: I'm hoping so. Keith Waters is the man to ask. I've been badgering him going to meetings. They had a meeting at Augusta. But everybody is reluctant to change for some reason and I don't know why. I don't know why. If they are going to have stronger fields, if they want stronger fields in all of the major tours in the world, not just in America, they are going to have to do something World Ranking system because that is a major problem at the moment.

Q. And people who turn do you think you would get a much stronger field at Wentworth, for example?
PAUL McGINLEY: That's another issue. That's another issue. A major event like that is another.

Q. Is it related?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course it's related. Of course it's related.

Q. Some don't play well at Wentworth in the spring, they say?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, exactly. And why, they don't want to take a chance because of the World Rankings, the chance of making no the approximates, if they are not comfortable on a course, why make no points and play an extra tournament. And? I think that's the issue guys are having, I really do.

Q. Can golf afford to ignore the problem at this time?
PAUL McGINLEY: This is a tough economic climate not just for professional of golf, but all sports except soccer. You know, we have to wake up and find a way around it, and I really think this is an issue, players playing more often. I really don't blame the players to a large extent.
I think the system in place is not rewarding guy who is play more, and Vijay is the example. You look how much Vijay plays and he gets penalised for playing. Davis Love as you say last year missed the Masters because he played an extra event. That's not right. That's not right.

Q. What do you think Tiger Woods would say if you put this all to him? He only plays 17 events a year.
PAUL McGINLEY: I think he would still be the best player in the world.

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