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ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP


January 16, 2014


Paul McGinley


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Q.  68, what pleased you most about your play?
PAUL McGINLEY:  First round of the year, it's quite a while since I played.  I played Shanghai was my last tournament and I played in South Africa but I wasn't really prepared for that.  I figured I played kind of well second half of last season, made all the cuts, and didn't have any big finishes but I played a lot of good golf and obviously continued today.

Q.  Was there a sense of it coming into the week that you felt you could play well here?
PAUL McGINLEY:  As I say I've been playing decent second half of last year.  First half was obviously Ryder Cup issues, but the second half I thought I played very well and a lot of consistency.  Obviously carried on today.

Q.  Not often that we say you make a good bogey but 16 was a good bogey, wasn't it.
PAUL McGINLEY:  It was a very good bogey, wasn't it.  I was surprised it was in the water.  Thought it was in the bunker obviously just carried the bunker and went in the water.  Really good five.  Disappointed with the last.  There was a scuff mark right in my line and I let it affect my stroke.  I didn't hit a good stroke because of the scuff mark, a bit of a mental error.

Q.  You talk about The Ryder Cup and responsibilities; what's your attitude to playing?
PAUL McGINLEY:  My attitude is very strong, and it was last year, too, I think it's important for me to play and stay competitive on Tour for a number of reasons.  None more so than in Shanghai; I played with Peter Hanson and then with Luke Donald in the last round, and that's where my score was and that's where their score was.
That's a big thing for me to do that and play with guys like that and playing with two young kids like I was today, both of them could be on the team.  The more information I get, the better.

Q.  Do you sense these young guys are a little bit nervous to be around the captain?
PAUL McGINLEY:  No, if they are nervous around me, they shouldn't be playing Ryder Cup (laughter).

Q.  So how good a start to the year is that?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, very good start, I'm obviously pleased.  It was a good round of golf, hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and only had one bogey, so all in all, a good day's work.

Q.  Did you expect it?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I didn't expect to shoot that low but I expected to be par or maybe 71.  I would have been happy with that and that's what I would have expected but got a few better than that.

Q.  And whilst it wasn't the score you wanted at 16, a good way to damage limitation.
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, it was a great bogey.  I was surprised to see my ball in the water.  But anyway, left myself on the wrong side of the green, tough chip and, the chip for five was one I walked up and fancied it and luckily it went in.

Q.  And a year since you had the announcement as Ryder Cup Captain, nice to put that on the back burner for a little while?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† It's never on the back burner.¬† When you're put in as captain, it's always forefront on the mind for the two‑year period that you are captain.
It's been very exciting.  It's an exciting time in my life and I'm really enjoying it and I'm keen to play well, as well, too, because I think that's an important part of my captaincy is to stay competitive on Tour and play with two young kids like I did today.
It was a big learning curve for me, played with them quite a bit in past.¬† Tommy Fleetwood is a young kid just coming on Tour, for example and I've played with him three or four times now and that's great.¬† Should he make the team I feel I'm better prepared to manage him and same with Thorbj√łrn.

Q.  Do you raise your game, as well, when you're playing against them?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Oh, the course is tough enough without me trying to impress anybody else.  I'm just trying to beat the golf course.

Q.  You must have come here with some pretty decent memories given what happened exactly a year ago in Abu Dhabi; so you must have been in a great frame of mind ahead of this round?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, it was interesting.  You know, going to the committee meeting on Tuesday night, obviously the agenda not quite the same as it was last year from my perspective.
But yeah, it's good memories obviously.  It was a roller coaster of emotions and on the Monday beforehand and the Tuesday, as well, too, but obviously all changed when I got put in position as captain on the Tuesday night.

Q.¬† As we know, it's almost a full‑time job to be a Ryder Cup Captain.¬† But how are you sort of separating that with the playing side of things?
PAUL McGINLEY:  I've had to learn so many things and one of them is compartmentalisation.  You know, when I'm playing golf, I'm playing golf and when I'm doing business, I'm doing business and when I'm doing media, I'm doing media and staying focused on each one of those.
That's one of the things I've had to learn and be very disciplined about.  Same with my timings, as well, on my schedule; important that I keep my scheduling correct and give myself time to do everything.

Q.  The golfing compartment was in pretty fine fettle today throw, wasn't?
PAUL McGINLEY:  Hit a lot of greens in regulation, a lot of fairways and a good, solid round of golf and I was pleasantly pleased to play that well in the first round.

Q.  To save a bogey at 16 and almost holing the putt on the last.
PAUL McGINLEY:  Yeah, I made a bad mental error that putt on the last.  There was a scuff mark on my line and I was kind of concentrating on that and trying to dodge around it, a little bit reminiscent of Bernhard Langer at Kiawah.  I focused on the pitchmark, or on the scuff mark, rather, and I ended up hitting not a great putt but still hit the scuff mark and obviously missed.

Q.¬† You were playing with two of the youngsters in Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbj√łrn Olesen today.¬† When you're going around and playing and you're in your golf compartment, is there room in there for you to be having a little look at prospective players for your side at Gleneagles?
PAUL McGINLEY:¬† Yeah, very much so.¬† It was a big information‑gathering process for me playing with young guys like that, guys that I've played with over the years, like Paul Casey, Luke Donald I've played Ryder Cups with, I'm familiar with their games and partnered with them, as well.
So the young guys, it's a great opportunity for me to get to know them and know their game.¬† You can watch them on TV and all that kind of thing but standing toe‑to‑toe with somebody is when you really get an appreciation of their game.
Obviously those two young kids are very strong players but there's a whole‑‑ there's probably about seven or eight really young kids that haven't played before, and I'm calling them kids.¬† Tommy really is a kid, he's only in his very early 20s.¬† Their games are so impressive.¬† I think we are very fortunate in Europe that not just this Ryder Cup but future Ryder Cups we're in good hands in terms of what's coming through.

Q.  I know the answer to this but some people might be saying, he's not going to play himself on to the team, is he, meaning you?
PAUL McGINLEY:  No.  I'm not even on the points list.  You won't find my name there, so no.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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