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JOHNNIE WALKER CHAMPIONSHIP AT GLENEAGLES


August 20, 2013


Richard Hills

Paul McGinley


GLENEAGLES, SCOTLAND

SCOTT CROCKETT:  Thank you very much for your attendance with us here today on what is a significant signpost along the road which will eventually lead to the 2014 Ryder Cup here at Gleneagles next September.
I'm delighted to be join on the top table today by Richard Hills, who is the European Ryder Cup Director, and Captain Paul McGinley.¬† As well as handling that important role, Paul is also one of the competitors this week in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, and we'll take questions along that alongside any other Ryder Cup‑related topics you might have later on.
Before that, as you'll see from the press are he lease, we have a very special Ryder Cup announcement.  Back here in May at Gleneagles, three Scottish charities were unveiled as the 2014 Ryder Cup, and I'm delighted that they are here with us again today.
They are the Friends of St Margaret’s Hospital in nearby Auchterarder, represented by chairman Dr.James Grant; the Perth and Kinross Disability Sport, represented by the vice chairperson, Kathleen Smith; and Scotland's family charity, Quarriers who are represented by their Chief Executive Paul Moore.
These three organizes provide three portals of the official Ryder Cup charity picture, and in the final piece of that jigsaw is the charity nominated by Paul in his capacity as our Ryder Cup Captain.  It's my pleasure to hand the floor to Paul to make that announcement.
RICHARD HILLS:  Thank you, Scott.  Thank you everybody for coming along today.  It's a pleasure for me to announce the start of my foundation.  I have not had a foundation in place previously in my career.  I have done things more on an ad hoc level, and now I've moved into the role of captaincy, I thought it was important to start the foundation and do it in the right and proper way.
Felt very privileged to have travelled the world so many beautiful places and seen so many beautiful things and experienced so many beautiful things, and this is a big part of giving something back.
So I'm very pleased to announce this foundation today and thank you all very much for coming and supporting and writing about it and taking photographs about it and putting it on TV.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Thanks, Paul.  As well as officially launching the McGinley Foundation, I know there are four specific charitable causes that you have earmarked to receive exclusive support to your foundation during its term as the Official Charity.  Perhaps you would like about each of those charities, who I am also delighted to say are with us in the room today.
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, in no particular order, I'll start, the first one is CLIC Sargent.¬† CLIC Sargent is a charity very close to our heart, the McGinley family.¬† My wife sits on the board and has done for a number of years, Eddie Jordan, a good friend of mine has been closely associated with it and Gary Lineker, as well and Barry McGuigan, just to name three who have been involved in the fund‑raising of that, and some of those people have mentioned they have had to use CLIC and had the benefit of CLIC in the past.
The idea of CLIC is to help children with leukemia and cancer, in so many different ways, just to give an example of one way is a lot of families have to come to London to get treatment and one of the things CLIC does is provide family support and accommodation for those families that may have to come to London to do that.  That's CLIC Sargent.
The second one is Amber, and Amber is, again, through a friend, Dominic Shorthouse, who is a trustee of Amber.  Amber is a centre, three centres in the U.K., and it's a centre for young kids who may have gone off the rails in different ways, drink, drugs, family background, whatever.  It's a centre where they can come and rehabilitate and come off whatever problems they have or have some expert advice in dealing with the problems they have.
But also, and this is the big thing that it does:  It reeducates them into, you know, maybe doing some painting or decorating or something, some kind of a role that they can go back into society with and take with them and move forward.  There's three centres around the U.K. and about 30 kids in each of those.
The third one is St Vincent de Paul.  St Vincent de Paul is the Irish element to what we are doing here.  St Vincent de Paul, 1844 it started.  It's a long, long time ago, just in the back of the famine in Ireland.
And St Vincent de Paul helps with poverty with family issues throughout the 32 counties in Ireland and every town and village, I've certainly had an association with growing up, it was very much part of our community growing up, and I know it benefits communities all throughout Ireland.¬† But it's a very well known and wonderful pan‑Irish society, but also has a U.K. element to it, as well, too.
The fourth is a European Tour Players Foundation.  As I say before, we are so privileged to travel around the world to so many different places and see beautiful things; and The European Tour likes to leave a legacy behind in a lot of the places that we go to, and The European Tour foundation through David Park is very instrumental in that.
So they are the four charities that I've nominated and I feel very strongly and passionate about all four and I hope I can help all four as best I can over the next 12 months, along with the three chosen Scottish charities, as well, too.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Golf fans tend to think of The Ryder Cup as three days of the excitement of The Match itself, but today's announcement shows once again, doesn't it The Ryder Cup is more than the battle for 28 points.
PAUL McGINLEY:  Thank you, Scott.  Good afternoon, everyone.  As job satisfaction days go, this one ranks extremely highly, this charity announcement today with Paul, completing the fourth piece of the jigsaw and each of the Scottish charities gives The European Tour and Ryder Cup Europe tremendous pride.
This follows on, naturally, from what Ryder Cup has been doing over the past few editions.  The Links Golf Society initiative in Ireland with the K Club match, at the conclusion of the match, we handed over 20 disabled minibuses from Derry to Kerry in our charity initiative there; and then in Wales, the initiative with Tenovus to provide the mobile unit was the forefront of the charity initiative of the Celtic Manor Match.
This shortly as we've said in the press statement is going to be documented in an outside‑the‑ropes documentary of the works that the Ryder Cup does beyond the 28 points of golf.¬† So we look forward to that airing later in the year, and it will show you in its entirety what Ryder Cup does beyond the golf itself.
So thank you everyone for being here, we are delighted to be part of this initiative with golf, and thank you all.

Q.  Probably feels like another step closer; how close does the tournament feel to the actual Ryder Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, we are one week away from the qualification points starting and that's going to be another milestone.  This is the last event we'll have at Gleneagles before The Ryder Cup, and that's another milestone.
So it's like going on a journey, that you're jumping hurdles every time, and we jump a hurdle this week with being the last event here at Gleneagles before The Ryder Cup, and then next week, as well, too, when the qualification points starting.
It's all very exciting.  It's building up.  The last six months have been a real whirlwind since I was appointed and I think that's gone quick.  I think the next five months is going to go even quicker.
Yeah, it's very exciting and a lot of work going on behind the scenes, a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes and to be quite honest, I've learned so much about the role already and how much work actually goes into being the captain.  It's not just turning up with players on Friday morning and picking the pairings.  There's so much that goes into it behind the scenes.  I'm very much more appreciative of the work that Richard and his team have done now, and for every Ryder Cup, after experiencing the last six months.
So to answer your question, yeah, very exciting and looking forward to the next 12 months, 13 months before the matches.

Q.  Were you disappointed that more European guys that are realistic contenders for your team are not here this week?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I think disappointed is not the right word to use, and I'm not surprised either.  At the end of the day, most of the top European players are playing in The Barclays this week in the FedEx, first event in the FedEx, that's understandable.  I understand that. 
You know, I think if you look historically through when we played The K Club and when we played in Wales, you know, there was always a large number of prospective players who were not playing in those events.
If you look to how we played in Medinah I remember when we played in Detroit when I was part of the team, we arrived‑‑ I had never seen the golf course till the Monday‑‑ Tuesday morning, having got in on Monday.¬† Players adapt very quickly to getting to know the golf course.
If you look at the team from Medinah, there's only two, maybe three players who have not played on the golf course in the past.  You take guys like Justin and Pádraig and those guys, they have all played there in the past, I know Pádraig was not in Medinah, but you take guys like Lee, they have all played this golf course in the past.  We'll get used to the course, no problem.
I think disappointed is not the right word but I'm not surprised either.  But it's understandable with what's going on around the world with the big events and the FedEx and understanding the fact that most of our players are playing on the American tour and this is one of their biggest events of the year.

Q.  Are you hoping that Rory McIlroy becomes the Rory McIlroy we know and not the one he's been for the last nine or ten months?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, we all want to see Rory ‑‑ what makes Rory so special is the swashbuckling way he plays the game with the bounce in his stride and that smile on his face and the aggressive way he plays the game.¬† That's what makes him so special and that's why everybody is interested in him and why companies like Nike want to spend so much money to get him.¬† He is special.¬† He's not the run‑of‑the‑mill faceless golfer.¬† He's got a charisma and personality to him.
I think it was terrific for him to play as well as he did in the US PGA.¬† I know he was disappointed even with a Top‑10 finish, he was disappointed the end of the week.¬† We all know he can turn it around so quickly.¬† I have no doubt, I've said so many times, a player's career is up‑and‑down; a player's season is up‑and‑down; a player's month is up‑and‑down.
And Rory is no different.  He's a young kid, eagle learning all the time.  He learns very, very quickly and this will be a small blip in his career when we look back in ten or 15 years' time.
Yeah, I want to see Rory playing well.¬† I think he's got a lot of confidence now, having had a Top‑10 in the US PGA and I want be surprised to see him having a very strong FedEx series in America and look forward to having him back in Europe towards the end of the year and The Race to Dubai.

Q.  I know you said that you're in no rush to appoint your assistant captains, but Sam's appointment as the Seve captain for GB&I, how significant might that be?
PAUL McGINLEY:  It's significant because I think so much of Sam.  I think I've said it in this room so many times, my views on Sam, he was a wonderful captain to me; we spend a lot of time together in Sunningdale; we socially spend time together and play a lot of social golf together as well; a lot of money games, he's got a lot of my money that I've yet to get it back yet.
To be quite honest, and I'll say it again, I really mean this, until the middle of next year, I'll really start putting things in place then.  Everybody can read between the lines that I'm thinking maybe along those lines, but we just have to wait and see.  Sam doesn't know yet.  I don't know yet.  Let's see how the Seve Trophy goes and let's see come this time next year and make some firm decisions that way.
A bit like the question earlier; I see hurdles each time.  I come up to a hurdle and think how are we going to jump this hurdle and then I'll move forward to the next one, and that's how I see the vice captaincy, as well.  This was a situation presented to me where I could choose the captains, and I think I made the best decision at the moment.
As the hurdles go on, I'll start looking at the vice captaincy this time next year or middle of next summer and think, this is where I want to go and what I want to do.
I think one step at a time is very much my motto at the moment.  If there's one thing I learned over the last six months is that as long as you consistently keep jumping the hurdle to the best of your ability, I'll be happy with that.

Q.¬† If memory serves me correctly, Monty said he put his career on hold in the period of the buildup to The Ryder Cup and the actual event, and it suffered, as well.¬† How about for yourself‑‑ with your competitive side?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† It's difficult but ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ to be honest, I'm really enjoying it.¬† When I go on the range, somebody wants to have a word with me, have a chat about this, have a chat about that, and I welcome that.¬† It's part of the role.
To be honest I'm in the twilight of my career, I know that.¬† Having said that, I still enjoy playing, I still enjoy competing, and I'm fully exempt on the Tour.¬† I think I finished 70th or 75th on the Money List last year playing a half‑schedule.
So I feel I'm still competitive when I play well and I don't want to use The Ryder Cup as an excuse to just throw my career away and say, you know what, I'm finished.  I want to finish my career and not really just play and go through and be ceremonial.  I don't really want to do that.
I'm still keen on playing and still keen on competing.  I know it's difficult and I know it's a challenge and I don't want to use it as an excuse, and at the same time I don't want to go on the golf course and only be Paul McGinley.  I'm very mindful of the fact that even when I'm on the range and playing a practise round I'm The Ryder Cup Captain, and if somebody wants to share something with me, I'm always available.

Q.  The qualification period doesn't start until next week, but if somebody plays well this week and wins, would it be some sort of marker towards the match next year?
PAUL McGINLEY:  There's no doubt, absolutely.  I'm a firm believer and I've said it so many times in the past, but I'm a great believer in horses for courses and I'm a great believer on form over a golf course.  It's no coincidence you see players coming back year after year to certain venues or certain courses suit their eye, suit their game, and they play well.  They might be going through a bad period of not having played well, and all of a sudden they go back to a course where they won in the past and their game picks up.
Of course I'll be watching closely how players perform this week, and as we've done, with guys who have played here in the past, I think we have been ten years over here on this venue now, and of course, that would be a big marker and a stat I would look at closely when it comes to making my three picks.

Q.  Richard, we are seeing the course in wonderful condition this week, how is preparations going into next year, and how important, how crucial, are the features that this course presents, especially looking at the time of the year we'll be playing next year?
RICHARD HILLS:  I think we are in very good shape coming into this week and we are very good shape in the match for just over a years' time.  I think it's evident the amount of work that Scott Fenwick has undertaken as head green keeper here, and has born out in tremendous result in improving the quality of the golf course.

Q.¬† Next year, in September‑‑
RICHARD HILLS:  A lot of work has been done on the SubAir system and the amount of sand which has been injected into the surfaces, so we are very confident that the golf course can sustain the weather that may prevail.

Q.¬† If you go back‑‑ there may be a wee perception of Europe being underdogs, how much has that changed over the years, when you talk about the guys playing in The Barclays this week, how much has the dynamic of the competition changed?
PAUL McGINLEY:  There's no doubt the dynamic has changed significantly.  Even back when I played in '02, but when you go back before that to '85 and early 90s, to be quite honest, we had five or six of the best players in the world and the remaining six players were guys that weren't to that standard and the captain had to bob and weave and try to get the most and really ride the fact that the top six players and try to play them as much as they can.
You see now The Ryder Cups from the European perspective, the dynamic of the team has changed; evident in the fact that José Maria was very clear that he wanted to play all 12 players in the first day in Medinah last year, and I think if that's not evidence of how the dynamic has changed, you know, nothing is.
If you look back to Tony Jacklin's days when he was captain, there's no way that Tony could have or would have called that tactic, playing all 12 players the first day.  That's probably the biggest evidence that you can say that it has changed.  That's great.  I think you just have to look at the Solheim Cup last week, as well.
Rookies nowadays are not rookies as they were back 25 years ago, and the ladies tour is no different.  You look I think six rookies on The European Team last week and they all played so superbly well and rose to the occasion so well.
So something in the past, as well, too; if a rookie shows a lot of form next year and plays well, I'll have no hesitation about picking a rookie.  I just want to have guys who are playing well and on form.  All doors are open as far as I'm concerned.

Q.  Have you been talking to any of the players regarding the Seve Trophy?  It's a personal decision for them if they play but will you phone them personally?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, I'll be encouraging everybody to play.  I've already spoken to some at the US PGA and some have said, yeah, if I'm not in the FedEx, I will play and some have said, it's not going to suit me because I'm doing this or that and that's understandable.
One of the things I'm very conscious of with the Seve Trophy is new players‑‑ if a young rookie comes in, and one of the reasons why I think it's great to have Jos√© Maria and Sam as captain, that it's a great steppingstone to get to that level and then move on from that level to Ryder Cup.¬† To go from the level of not having played Seve Trophy and going to The Ryder Cup is a big, big step and hopefully this is a bridge for a number of players.
It would be unusual for somebody to go‑‑ without using the Seve Trophy as a steppingstone.¬† So I think there will be a number of players who will be playing in the Seve Trophy who could potentially be on the team next year and I have no doubt the Seve Trophy will be a big learning curve for them, particularly with the two captains that I feel we have put in place.¬† I know both of those teams, the 20 players going there, can learn a huge amount as I did from both of them.
Looking back to my captaincy in the Seve Trophy, first time, I captained I had Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy on the team and I assure you and that both of them can vouch, that it was a big, big step for them to play team golf in a professional level as part of a team before they went on to The Ryder Cup.  And when did eventually play Ryder Cup, both of them benefitted hugely from that.
It's a real good steppingstone, and even if the top players don't come, I'm not really going to be that bothered, because to me I'm more concerned with the younger guys getting experienced and moving on.  I know what the Luke Donalds and Ian Poulters of the world do, and we have all seen what they can do in team events.  Playing an extra Seve Trophy is not going to be hugely beneficial to me; although, having said that I would love to see them play.
But it's the younger guys coming through and I'm really looking at the Seve Trophy as a steppingstone for the younger guys more so than the big guys coming back; but having said that if they did come back, obviously I'll be delighted as well, too and I can mix them in as well with the young guys.

Q.  How much will you be using this week to determine the setup for the course next year?  Do you think you know already how the course will set up for The Ryder Cup?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I have a good idea how the course should be set up but it's a really good question, because this is part of the reason why we feel in Europe it's important for the captain still to be competing and playing on Tours; not just to see the players and be around them more often and for the players to be familiar with the captain.
But it's also for the captain to see the golf course and how it's playing and what kind of players it's suiting and what players it's not suiting; if a certain fairway or certain green needs to be changed in terms tailoring, growing the rough more in, or maybe having a pin position there or using that pin position.
All of those things, yeah, you know, the question we had earlier from Jim about me still playing, as well, too, and of course I'm going to have an idea and an eye on all of those things and that's why as much as I'm Ryder Cup Captain, I'm a player at the same time.  I don't really want to leave one hat off.  I want to wear two hats at the same time.

Q.  Could you talk a little about your meeting with Tom Watson last month and what you took from it?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† I took‑‑ I think most people when they have dinner or spend time around Tom Watson, you come away thinking, like I've always said, Tom Watson is a very, very tough man.¬† He's a hard man.¬† There's no doubt about it.¬† But I don't mean that in a derogatory sense.¬† He's a very straight shooter and he's a guy with a huge amount of integrity, a guy I've always admired and appreciated, not just throughout my career but before I came on Tour, as well, too.
I think I came away, if I was in any doubt before that I'm really up against it, there was certainly no doubt after that meeting.  But I think it will be played in a very good spirit.
You know, one of the things we spoke about is that as much as The Ryder Cup is going to be played with full integrity and it's going to be a lot of respect among the 24 players, there's also going to be that electricity and that edge between the two teams, that edge of winning and it's important The Ryder Cup doesn't look that and doesn't become too friendly and overly‑familiar.¬† I don't think there's any danger of that, but I can assure you are under our captaincy, that won't happen.
It's about passion and it's about, you know, you've got a big, wounded animal in the American Team over the last two Ryder Cups that have lost by one point on each occasion, and I'm very aware of that and all of our players are aware of that, and we are really up against it to win again.  We know that and we know we are going to have to perform extremely well to win it.  There's no doubt the American Team will be enhanced and stronger with Tom Watson as captain.

Q.  Was he a hero of yours before?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, he was, as a boy, very much growing up, he was a guy that probably because‑‑ I just love the way he plays the game and his fearless attitude and the fact that he played so fast, and he's so decisive and he walked with that air of authority.
There's so many things about Tom Watson that I could talk about that I like about him.  As I've got older and got to play a few practise rounds with him and now that I'm spending more time with him, my view is not changing.  He is a very formidable man, there's no doubt about that.

Q.  (Does he knows that?)
PAUL McGINLEY:  He knows that.  He reads the papers.  He reads the golf magazines and he watches the TV.  He knows that.

Q.  Have you been able to send any messages to the Solheim Cup team?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, I've sent an e‑mail to Liselotte, the captain and indeed I did wish her good luck.¬† I sent a video to her before she went and before the team went which was played on the night before.
All I can say is I'm absolutely delighted and thrilled as a European to see them winning for the first time on American soil.  It really is something special.  It's breaking down the barriers and I'm just so delighted for the girls.  The girls have had a tough time and a tough economic time, too, and to see them rising against the Americans as well as they did, and to see the young girls come through, as well, too.
And to see people like Laura Davies, the way she's accepted it and almost felt like she was part of it herself even though she wasn't playing and that's great to see, too.  I'm delighted for them and wish them every success and like I'll be following the Walker Cup next month, as well, too, and wishing them the very best as well.

Q.¬† Were you watching the Solheim‑‑
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Well, I was away, I was on American time.¬† I was away on holiday so I saw a lot of it in realtime in terms of time of the day.¬† So I didn't see the singles. ¬†I was flying during the singles but I was watching it on the Internet in the airport before I left, but I had a good idea.¬† I think they really won it on the Saturday afternoon, going 5‑nill and going five points ahead, it was a huge advantage.
We have said so many times in The Ryder Cup, and this is why Ian Poulter's point was so, so, so, huge in The Ryder Cup at Medinah teams have come back from four points behind, but nobody has ever come back from five, not to my knowledge.¬† Once they got to five points ahead, they were going to go over the line‑‑ I thought so, anyway.¬† And this is, going back to Medinah this is why Ian Poulter's point, and Luke and Sergio's, the point before that, on the Saturday of Medinah last year was just huge, huge, huge, just to get us within touching distance.

Q.¬† The new captaincy decision‑making process, as it were, after last year, I take it this is a situation that you'll be very much giving the thumbs‑up?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I'm obviously part of the committee that made that decision.  It was a strong feeling within the committee room, and probably Richard can come in on that one, and he's overseeing the committee and being in the committees, has a strong view of what the committee had been thinking.
RICHARD HILLS:  The process is reviewed after every match, and it was felt this would be a reflective way to take the captaincy forward.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Paul, many thanks as always.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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