Curtis warns of McGinley

2014-09-20 18:23
Ryder Cup trophy (File)

The Miracle at Medinah

2014-09-19 09:57

The 2014 Ryder Cup tees off next week while we look back at Europe's great escape during the 2012 edition.

Edinburgh - Former US captain Curtis Strange has warned his compatriots to beware of the influence of European skipper Paul McGinley come next week's Ryder Cup at Scotland's Gleneagles course.

This year the United States captain is Tom Watson, an eight-time major winner and one of golf's greatest players.

Watson is also a revered figure in Scotland, where he won four of his five British Open titles, and will be looking to lead the United States to their first victory on European soil since he was last captain for the biennial team event in 1993.

McGinley has no majors to his name but does have plenty of Ryder Cup experience, which the Irishman will try to draw on as he bids to lead Europe to an eighth Ryder Cup win in 10 editions.

"There is a lot of talk about Tom Watson but do not underestimate Paul McGinley," said Strange, a representative of Ryder Cup worldwide partner Standard Life Investments.

"Paul McGinley is a smart man, he's a competitor and he captained the Seve Trophy twice so he has experience and Paul will represent his team very, very well."

Strange knows what it is like to be a Ryder Cup captain accused of a tactical error after skippering the USA at the Belfry course in central England in 2002 after the match had been postponed because of the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.

The match was all square at 8-8 on the final day and Strange, concerned the final few matches could be decisive, left his strongest players in Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods at the bottom of his line-up.

However, the contest was decided in Europe's favour when McGinley secured a half point against Jim Furyk.

"I really thought the matches would be really close," said the now 59-year-old Strange, a two-time US Open champion.

"I know I got second-guessed, I got crucified over that."

Woods will be missing from this year's Ryder Cup because of a longstanding back injury but the 14-time major winner has often been accused of not caring enough about team golf.

Strange said that was unfair but added he wished Woods had been a more vocal presence in the US side.

"When I had him in 2002 he was still quite young and he was fantastic. I can't speak about how he is now," Strange added.

"The only thing I wished he would have done more of, as he was still by far and away the best player on my team, is take a little more of a vocal role in the team because he doesn't say much, he leads more by example.

"If he's like that still now I would want him to be more vocal in the team room and on the golf course. You can only do what your personality will allow you to do.

"I'm not being critical, we are all way too critical of Tiger to start with, everything he does, but that's the only thing I hope he would be better at because it is about team building, it's about rooting for each other and motivating each other to do well that week.

"I don't suspect Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer were like that either. They were the best players in the world at the time, their environment does isolate them from the rest of the players somewhat.

"There's a certain point of selfishness that goes along with it. But I think Tiger cares more about the Ryder Cup than people let on."

Read more on:    ryder cup  |  golf

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