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September 15, 2011

Paul McGinley


GORDON SIMPSON: Paul, 4-1 after the first day's play and a very good performance by your team but I suppose a word of warning: The last team that led 4-1 after day one actually lost, so that in itself tells a tale.
PAUL McGINLEY: Is that right? What year was that?

Q. That's very Scottish.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, we just had our meeting and that's really what I've pumped on. From the first day we got here, and every meeting we've had and every meeting that I have, keep on going. My point is, there's ten points available the first two days and there's 18 at the weekend. And I keep saying that and I keep going on about it.
So it's important to pace ourselves. We have had a great start -- I mean, a brilliant start -- not a great start; a brilliant start but there's a long, long way to go, a lot of points to be played for yet.
As I say, it's a very, very strong European Team and we certainly will not be underestimating them. We played really good golf today, but if we are going to win this, we have to keep on playing to that standard because they are going to come back, there's nothing surer than that.
GORDON SIMPSON: Was it a good day as well for the rookies, for example, David Horsey started birdie, birdie and Jamie Donaldson started birdie, birdie to get them settled down.
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, if you look at my pairings today, you'll see that every pairing had a mixture of experience and somebody coming through.
So really basically you take the five players off the World Rankings that qualified for the team and I paired each of them with one off The Race to Dubai and tried to make it as simple as possible that way so every group had experience.
I think that was best illustrated coming down the 18th hole in that last game as you saw where David Horsey missed the green on the right-hand side. But Darren who has been there so many times before, knew that he didn't need to be a hero. It was about hitting it in the middle of the green, which is what he did.
So that's the kind of reason that, again, and I've just said it at the meeting, that's a perfect illustration of why those pairings are where they are.

Q. Have you got the pairings for tomorrow?
PAUL McGINLEY: I've got the pairings for tomorrow, yeah. But I'm sorry, I don't think it's been released yet, the draw. My team is in. So it's did you know. I've put my team in and I'm waiting for the draw now. I don't know if Jean's put his in or not.

Q. Dyson is one of the experienced players now obviously. People are saying this is a Ryder Cup -- that he is a team player and he's got all the credentials to be a Ryder Cup man. Can you just say what you see in him and the fact that you put him out first obviously showed confidence.
PAUL McGINLEY: Two years ago I was hugely impressed -- not just the way he played on the golf course, but his personality. I think we are very fortunate, we have got a few players on our team, particularly the young guys, who are -- Ian Poulter is probably the best illustration; that they are just such team players. They get such a buzz out of team play.
I mean, me, personally, as well. I can relate to it; I can see it; I can identify it. To be quite honest, you look at my record in team events, it's far superior to my record as an individual. I wish I had a record as good as I did in team events in individual; I would have had a lot more successful career.
But I've certainly had a huge buzz and always enjoyed and probably played my best golf with the responsibility of being part of a team. Some guys feel more pressure on a team. Some guys feel less. I think that -- and I can identify that, and I know that Simon Dyson is a guy who gets a big buzz from being around his mates and around people who are like-minded to him.
So for me it's about lighting his fire and getting him going and getting him out there. I played him No. 1 today, because I want him to lead off the team. He's won last week. He's full of confidence. He was awesome two years ago. He would have been my No. 1 player last year but I kind of had another guy called McIlroy who was quite good in that role, too. (Laughter).
So that's why he's playing No. 1. That's what he did today.

Q. After this afternoon, what would you say to the members of your team tonight?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, we've just had a meeting and I've reiterated that it's a great start and no more. We've played for five points already. There's five more points tomorrow but then there's 18 at the weekend, so there's a huge, huge way to go. Momentum shifts are going to happen a couple of times over the next few days.
We have had a real one and a positive one in our favour today, and let's not underestimate that they are going to -- they are going to come at us, and we have got to be ready for that.
So you know, while I was quite conservative with my pairings today, and I'm still very conservative in my strategies for the next few days, I know they are going to come at us. It's not a time to be gung-ho. As the week goes on, we can change our strategy, but it's important that we have a balanced team and a team that's very focussed.

Q. Talking to Ross Fisher just now, he was saying that although it's not as intense and as much hype at The Ryder Cup, he loved it so much here two years ago that it helped him at Celtic Manor. Do you think it will be the same for a lot of the other lads making their debuts this week?
PAUL McGINLEY: I would like to think, so yeah. From my view about this tournament, and the committee's, four years ago, when the tournament was revived and Vivendi came on board, the committee's view was that we should really use it as a precursor to The Ryder Cup and that we should have the Ryder Cup Captain involved. That was the decision that the committee made, to get Monty involved who was Ryder Cup Captain. That worked well for him; not only did he learn a lot but the players learned a lot underneath.
And it's the same with Ollie involved this week. He just came and sat in on our team meeting actually. He's welcome to join our meeting any time he wants, as long as he doesn't give any information over to the other team; I think I can trust him. Like Monty was invited the last time to our meetings, Ollie is invited here. I think he can learn a lot from our players, too, in our team room, what they say in the meetings and how they talk to each other. I think it can only be a huge positive for a Ryder Cup Captain.

Q. This underdogs business, is it not just to get the team up, because you don't really look underdogs.
PAUL McGINLEY: We are underdogs on paper, Norman. Just look at The Race to Dubai and look at the World Rankings. There's no other reason. I mean, that's what -- it is what it is. We are underdogs when you look at those two things.
Now I work really hard to try to get our team on a level playing field as them. It's not a question of picking something out of the sky and making it up. It's actually reality and I'm letting them know that if you're going to play at this level. We are playing against really world-class players, and the last thing I ever did as a player and the last thing I want to do as a captain is underestimate the opposition and I don't want those guys underestimating how strong this -- how much potential this European Team has.
So it's not a trick. It's fact. And I want to keep them -- I want to keep them on edge.

Q. I'm sure you have faith in your five lesser likes, if you will, but the fact that they performed so well, did that exceed even your expectations?
PAUL McGINLEY: It did. To win 4-1 today, I'm hugely pleasantly surprised that we have come out against such a strong European Team winning 4-1.
But again, my experience of playing in a team, give you an example. My first Ryder Cup at The Belfry, I'm always remembered for obviously the putt.
To me, I played a much bigger role the night before, those of you who remember Saturday night in the four-balls, me and Darren played against, I think it was Scott Hoch and Davis Love. I think it was those two. And we were the last game on the course on the Saturday night coming down into the singles, and again, the Americans are much stronger on paper than us and we were going into the singles, and it looked like we were going to be one point down.
The European Team was going to be one point down. Myself and Darren were 1-down playing the 18th, and if we had lost that game, we would have halved that hole and lost the game, and Europe is 1-down going into the singles against a notoriously strong, historically, team, America, in the singles record.
So I was playing with Darren that day, and I wasn't meant to be playing with him, I was meant to be playing with Harrington because he had pulled out. He felt he needed to practise, and so put me with Darren at last minute.
And Darren said to me as we were having lunch before we went out in the afternoon, he played in the morning, he said: "Here is what's going to happen. You are going to tee up on the first, and you're going smash is down the middle. If you don't hit it down the middle, don't worry. I'm coming right behind you, and that's going to be the whole way through. You stand up." To be honest it took a huge amount pressure off me, and I felt that I had a free bat knowing that Darren Clarke is coming behind me, one of the best drivers of the ball in the game, and that's the kind of thing I got him to say to Horsey as well, today, too.
The whole point of my pairing, what I'm saying is you can take pressure off the younger guy by putting somebody like that with him, so he's playing with a free mind knowing what's coming behind him. So that was the whole idea of the balance. It was not a gung-ho attitude. It was a very -- I wanted a controlled balance, and if I had come out this morning 2 1/2 - 2 1/2, I would have been really happy with that. So you can imagine how I feel at 4-1.
But as I say I'm not underestimating the rest of the week.

Q. Similar question. Can you speak about Scott Jamieson's contribution with Ross, and are you reluctant -- are you reluctant to change a 6 & 4 winning pairing?
PAUL McGINLEY: I would love to talk about it, but the draw is not out yet. You can talk to me whenever the draw comes out, and I'll give you my reasons as to why I did whatever. But at the moment, I don't want to say.

Q. Can you speak then about Scott's contribution?
PAUL McGINLEY: He played great. He was with a great partner. Ross Fisher is another guy who hugely impressed me to years ago in how he nurtured Chris Wood through two years ago. He was hugely impressive. He's got that kind of personality that he's easy to get on with.
Scott is kind of a quiet guy, and it was very important that I had somebody who had a real strong personality on the golf course. Ross Fisher has that. He makes a triple-bogey, and standing next to you, you wouldn't know whether he's made a triple-bogey or an albatross; he's got that kind of demeanor; he's always on an up. That was important, that was a real match of personalities. That's where I was trying to match the personalities there, to give him a buzz.

Q. Do you expect Jean to change his strategy? And being in his position, would you change your strategy?
PAUL McGINLEY: I don't want to give too much away, but I think it's quite obvious he's going to come at us in the morning and try to get some momentum back, so we'll see.

Q. The Ryder Cup Team room is renowned for its intensity. Do you find with this event being more lower key that you can achieve the same dynamic in a team room here?
PAUL McGINLEY: Yeah, I mean, I try to. It's very difficult obviously to compare it to The Ryder Cup which is off the scale. But of course I can, no question. I'm trying very hard to do that.
And I'll be disappointed if I don't give the guys a buzz. It's very important. Team meetings are really huge, I really enjoy it. As a player, I loved the team meetings. I always looked forward to the team meetings. It goes back to me being in the dressing room when I played football. I love being in the locker room with the guys. You can learn a lot from being in the team room and hearing what guys have to say. My team meetings today, you know -- well, all week, you know, I want Poulter, Westwood and Darren to speak at each of those, and I asked them to contribute, which they all have done hugely.
So it's very important that I've got a lot of experience in the team, but that I use that experience so that the young guys learn from that, as well, too. And they can take some of the excitement that the boys have had over the years from playing team golf and see the buzz that they have. Look at Ian Poulter, he's flown all the way back from America to play this week. Did you see a player out there with any more buzz than he was? He was flying. That's great. That makes me really happy when I see that.

Q. You said yesterday the thing that was going to interest you personally was how you learnt or coped with the more experienced players, or the stars, on your team. What did you learn today about yourself?
PAUL McGINLEY: Well, they all contributed. I think Lee Westwood was very unfortunate not to win his game. I think he played particularly strongly.
It's too early to say. Today was a good day. Things went right. Tomorrow things can go wrong. Ask me that question on Sunday, and I can give you a better answer. Sorry to dodge, but it's still a long way to go. And all I can say is the boys are contributing a lot to my team. But I'm trying to bring it out of them, I'm trying to encourage them, I'm trying to bring it out of them and give them a lot of responsibility. And I want them to share the wealth of experience with the younger guys, because not only does it make them feel better, but it will give the younger guys a buzz. When Westwood stands up in the room or when Ian Poulter stands up or when Darren Clarke stands up to speak, you listen.

Q. The story in your book -- what did you get from it --
PAUL McGINLEY: I'm just doodling, playing X's and O's all the way around. Obviously things that I noticed on the golf course that I say at the meeting. My job is not to -- I'm not in a Seve mode of captain in terms of talking to the players a lot on the golf course. I don't see that as my role. My role is preparing and putting the pairings together, motivating and standing back and watching and observing; so the things that I observe, I put in the book and I speak about later.
I know as a player, there are so many things to think of and so many things to get involved -- my own personal view is I preferred when I was focusing on what I was doing and didn't have too much interruption from other things. If I need to relay something to the players, I'll do it through the caddies. So the caddies came to all of my meetings tonight, as well. They are very, very important part.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Paul.

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