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July 5, 2010

Paul McGinley


STEVE TODD: Thanks for coming in, Paul. All nice to be back on Irish soil. We've had Padraig and Graeme and Rory, all spoken about this event in glowing terms, and I'm something that I'm sure you'd reiterate.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, obviously I'm sure they have said all of the things that oil be saying. Great credit to JP, Ireland, Limerick. Nice to see all of the money being spent locally. I think that's great. Great to be able to track the money where we spent the last time we were here and just shows the popularity of JP, not just to the people of Limerick, but to the professional golf game, as well.
STEVE TODD: Star-studded field again. How much do you enjoy as a player going out there in a bit more of a rock star atmosphere?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah it's always fun. I've never signed as many autographs except at The Ryder Cup. I was telling Michael Douglas that we had a very, very good crowd, very relaxed, cameras going off during the backswing and all that stuff, it's all right and to be expected and not a big deal, so it's fine.
STEVE TODD: Still coming back from the injury; how is the health at the moment and how do you feel your game?
PAUL McGINLEY: My knee is coming on. It's not 100 per cent but it's all right. But my game is struggling a bit. I'm not playing particularly badly, but I'm not scoring as well as I could. I'm not playing as consistently now as I can. I'm leaving two or three bad shots a round which seems to be costing me at the moment. So my level of consistency has not been as good as it should have been. But I'm not miles away at the same time.

Q. How did you get on with Michael Douglas, Fatal Attraction and all that?
PAUL McGINLEY: Wall Street 2, Gordon Geckko, that's the one I'm interested in, his new movie, which is going to be a huge blockbuster is coming out in September. I've played with him in the Dunhill before, and played with Samuel Jackson in the Dunhill before, and obviously Kyle the last two, Hugh Grant. The only way you get to meet them is when you're drawn with them, and it's good fun and all very, very nice guys. Michael Douglas is an absolute gentleman and absolute pleasure to be out. Everybody would enjoy his company. He's just a very normal, nice guy. I enjoyed his company as I have done in the past, yeah.

Q. You had one of them with you, Charlie McCreevy; is that an only-in-Ireland thing, you can have the guy from Wall Street?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, Charlie, I've known Charlie a long time. He played really well today. I was impressed with the way he played today. He played the best of the four of us and did most of the damage in terms of making more birdies than the rest of us did. It was fun, we had a good group, Johann Rupert, he was the captain of the team, he takes over the whole stories, as everybody knows. It was great. We had a fun day it really was. Just as we expected.

Q. What do you need to start enjoying golf a bit more, and is that going to sort of show itself in a bit more confidence maybe?
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't know, drawing the confidence is not something that I think that I have a problem with. I have a problem with my standards are not as high as they should be. I haven't play as well as I know I can, and it's hard to enjoy when you're not hitting quality shots. It's hard to play the golf courses when you don't have the proper armory to play -- and you're making doubles and triples which I've been doing.
It's been a long, long time since I've played the game of golf without a double-bogey. When I was playing my best, I would go months and months without having a double-bogey, and that's what's killing me at the moment. I seem to be hitting one or two bad a shots, which are ending up in positions -- that's the difference. It's nothing about enjoying the golf. I have to raise my standards and play golf. There's some good golf in there but not consistently good golf.
Momentum, I've always gone on about it in my career; and I haven't had any momentum at any stage during the year this year and what I need is momentum, create some momentum somehow and I haven't done that yet.

Q. I suspect you are getting tired of the question, but only two weeks to go. Can you give us an update what the situation is regarding the vice captain is on The Ryder Cup Team?
PAUL McGINLEY: What's Monty's official line? Truthfully, what's he said? (Laughter) Well, I'll tell you after The Open.

Q. No better place than here to tell us.
PAUL McGINLEY: It's not for me to say. It's not my position to say. Put it this way; if I'm asked, it's highly likely that I will take it.
I'm in a position now where my golf has been so poor this year, I'm not even close to making the team. So even if I won twice between now and the end of the season, I don't think I would be good enough still to make the team. So it's quite likely I won't be on the team as a player, so it's an easier decision for me to make than it was the last time because I'm quite far away from the team.
If that is the case, you know, it's more than likely I will end up being a vice captain. So we'll just see how it all evolves between now and then. Reading between lines; you can all read between the lines.

Q. And it's a job you would love to have, having been such a success in The Ryder Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, if you look at my history of being involved in Ryder Cups, I've been involved in the game at The Belfry where America was strong favourites, we really should not have won that Ryder Cup and we did through what I believe to be great captaincy by Sam.
Then went to America where Bernhard was the captain and we had a pretty even team with America, it was a 50/50 as to who was going to win. We obviously won.
Then we went to K Club where we were favourites. I think it's going to be quite clear that this time, all things considered, Europe is going to be very strong favourites.
There's a different agenda each time I've been involved in Ryder Cups and that will be another steppingstone for me if I am involved; to be to involved on the team that's going to be highly fancied to win The Ryder Cup.
Now, that creates problems in itself in terms of being a captain or a vice captain, whatever, and it will be interesting to see how that all resolves and what I learn from that. Because I've certainly learned a lot in the ones I've been involved in up to now which have been different dynamics in terms of the team, how a team is set out, the dynamics within the team and this is going to be different again because we are going to be such strong favourites.

Q. (Would the experience of being vice captain in you being named at the next Ryder Cup Captain)?
PAUL McGINLEY: Of course it is, yeah. As I say, the more experience I have, the more chance I have at getting The Ryder Cup captaincy. I would love to be Ryder Cup Captain but it's not my decision. It's something that I'm -- I'm not going to go out and say, you know, you don't go out like a political broadcast and say I would love to be co-captain and do all these things. The end of the day, the way The European Tour works, you don't go out and say what you want to do, you have to be asked to do it; it's not something you go out and campaign for. I would love to do it, of course. I really enjoyed The Vivendi Trophy last year. I feel like I still have a lot of good golfing years ahead of me. I'm very much focussed on that, but the way I've played this year, it's pushing me more and more in that direction, which is -- we'll just have to see how things go over the next few years. It's very important for me if I want to be Ryder Cup Captain that I play to a much higher standard than I have done this year. So I'm very much aware of that.

Q. Regarding The Ryder Cup captaincy and wave of Irish golf success, is it time that we have an Irishman as a captain of a Ryder Cup Team? And second part of that question is, what do you make of this wave of Irish success? It's been extraordinary for eight years and not just in Ryder Cup golf but in majors.
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, first of all, do Ireland deserve a Ryder Cup Captain? Not necessarily. The captain should be the best captain at that particular time. Whatever country he's from, it doesn't really matter. It's more important that he's the right man for the job, whether it's me or anybody else, doesn't matter going into it. I don't believe he should be from a certain country. I believe the best man for the job should get the job.
The second part of your question, wave of Irish success, again, I'll go back to the words I always keep coming back to, momentum. Momentum is so huge, not just in golf but all kind of professional sports, even amateur sports. Any kind of a game watching World Cup soccer, you can see the ebb and flow of the game as it goes on. Momentum is such an important thing in sport.
Go back to the 80s and early 90s when Europe were dominating the majors. We had momentum. There was Seve, Faldo, Lyle, Woosie, Langer, Olazábal, and they all brought each other up. One played well, the other played well and they sort of dragged each other and all of a sudden the standards were going higher and higher and higher because other guys were having success.
I think we are now in an era where that's starting to happen again, and you know, Padraig has been the catalyst for winning, breaking the duct and winning the major as a really home grown European player, he's been the first one to do it of this era. Okay, we've had Michael Campbell and Cabrera but they are not really Europeans heart and soul the way that Padraig is. Padraig's success, to me, he's The Pied Piper. He's led a lot of the success we are having now and certainly Rory and Graeme, as Irish, are coming on very strongly.
Again, I'll go back -- I'll give credit to the GUI for what they have done. The Golfing Union of Ireland now compared to when I was an amateur, it's night and day what they are doing in preparing kids for professional golf. Look at Shane Lowery, they don't even take a dip, they come on and progressed well, Peter Lawrie, look how he's progressed. It's a very professional amateur game we have now and very professional setup we have within the amateur game, and that's creating a great basis for success that we have on The European Tour.
I think somebody quoted that we have won four of the last 12 majors. I would like to think that, if I was a betting man I would like to have said Europe is going to win four of the next 12 majors, we certainly seem to be dominating, and it's no coincidence, either. I really fancy Graeme as a player, but I really saw a difference side to him when I was captain of the Vivendi Trophy last year. And everybody talked about Rory being my main, man and he was, but to be honest he would not have had the week he had if not for Graeme. Great team player, he'll be a huge on The Ryder Cup Team.
And I did an interview on radio on the Saturday morning when the question was more or less: Can Graeme hang on to a Top-5 finish and I disagreed, and I said don't underestimate, this guy can really win. So I was not surprised at all that he won, not one bit.

Q. What did you see in him in the Vivendi?
PAUL McGINLEY: His spirit. He was so up for it. It was an event that not everybody is always really up for. Certainly I was up for it as a captain. It was important for me that I've always been up for team events probably more than ordinary events. He was so up for it and he was so into it, and he was so excited about being there and being part of the team; his attitude and how much he really wanted to play well and how much he wanted to win, and how much he was enjoying it and how much he really wanted to be there. That's more than anything.
His golf game, there's 50 guys out on the range that will hit the ball as good if not better. But he certainly has a wonderful spirit, very ambitious, and an absolutely clinical short game, particularly his putting which is huge. If you're going to win a major, that's the most important aspect and particularly in Pebble Beach as you saw.

Q. Can you see Graeme and Rory starting things off on Friday morning at Celtic Manor?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I mean, I don't know, I haven't really looked at the team and what's what but certainly they were great leaders for me when I played them out at No. 1 and when I dropped them back to No. 2, they lost their game and I quickly put them back to No. 1.
Even in the singles, something that I learnt from Bernhard when we played in Detroit with the big Irish contingent we had there watching, supporting Europe; Bernhard had myself and Padraig playing beside each other in the singles so the Irish could gather around those two groups and watch, and the roars will be loud because we were not dispersed in the team order. It was very valuable to have that many people shouting for you.
I kind of took that idea and when I put them out in the singles. I put them out 1 and 2, knowing that Anthony Wall was not going to play at No. 3. So I was actually setting them away from the team and putting them up on their own and having a gap of half an hour for the next tee time, match No. 4. So even though you're not playing with your partner, having spent last two days with him, you can still feed off him.
The comfort factor is very important in The Ryder Cup, in anything, in a team event, it important to be comfortable in your environment. And sometimes singles can be a lonely place having played so pally the first two days, high-fiving your partner, high-fiving the caddies, and assistants watching as well. It can be a teamy-teamy thing, and you go out into singles and you're dispersed and it's just you and your caddie and back to normal and it's like, whoa, it can be a bit unnerving. So it's important to counteract that and be ready for it.

Q. Not to finish your playing career, but you've started the usual two degrees, started a business, wonder how it's going?
PAUL McGINLEY: Two things I started up during my six months, five and a half months I was off. One is a company called Eligo, which is a golf club membership for 11 grand a year you can play unlimited golf on 12 of the best courses in Europe, which is going along nicely. And the second one is the clubs-to-hire business, which just opened last week in Faro. You can rent a set of TaylorMades or Callaways for 35 Euros a week instead of having to pay each way in an airplane and having to lug them through the airport.
You can play the top-of-the-range TaylorMades or Callaways for 35 Euros for the week. We have already secured a number of airports. Faro is our test ira port, up and running and we have also got Malaga in the pipeline, Cape Town and Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, which will all be coming on stream in the next six months to a year.

Q. Potential investors today?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I was telling Michael Douglas and Johann about it. They thought it was a great idea. I think anybody who plays golf and knows what it's like to lug golf clubs around airports, it not much fun, and paying 40 Euros each way on an airplane is not much fun, either.
But you can come out of customs in Faro in the hall, you have them prebooked, give them your credit card and passport, and just like going skiing, off you go for the week. We are working on high number, it's all about volume. It's called clubstohire.com.
Eligo, that's basically for 11 grand a year, you have unlimited playing rights at 12 of the top clubs in Europe: Valderrama, here, Adare Manor, Doonbeg Ireland, The London Club, you know, clubs of that kind of stature, all throughout Europe.
Now we have just started aisle Atlantic which is basically 12 clubs on the East Coast of America, and Owen O'Connell is running that for me over there. He's done all of the deals with the golf clubs over there, and we are only limiting it to a hundred members here in Europe and we are nearly at that number now.
So we just started -- we secured all of the golf courses on the East Courses. They are private golf courses. They are all private, gated clubs; not clubs you can walk in and pay; that you would not be able to get in for unless you're a member, and you can also bring a guest if you're a member as well, too.
They are the two things that I've been involved with and very busy doing the rehab on my knee, as well, during the 5 1/2 months. So it was not all wasted time even though I missed playing golf.
STEVE TODD: Thanks, Paul.

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