Gleneagles - Paul McGinley rates his Ryder Cup team as one of the strongest
assembled by Europe but he will be mindful this week of the special
influence rival captain Tom Watson can exert on his United States side.
Europe are considered the favourites to win the 40th edition of the
biennial team event especially as they boast four of the top six players
in the world rankings and have won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups.
McGinley, however, sounded a cautionary note to his 12 players.
are confident. We have assembled a great team, arguably the strongest
European team ever, but there is a word of warning as well," the
Irishman said on Monday.
"If you know Tom Watson, that glint never
leaves his eye, he's a real competitive guy. This is a strong American
team and it's not to be underestimated how strong they're going to be
and we've got a real challenge ahead of us.
"If you take their
average world-ranking position, theirs is 16 and ours is 18 so this is
not a weak American team," McGinley told a joint news conference as the
countdown began to the matches that start with Friday morning's four
"As strong as we are they're very strong as well and that's what makes the Ryder Cup so great and unique."
his part, Watson said the trip to the Home of Golf represented an
opportunity for the Americans to banish the memory of their capitulation
two years ago.
Europe trailed 10-6 going into the final-day
singles but staged a remarkable fightback to win by 14-1/2 points to
13-1/2 in a match now known as the 'Miracle in Medinah'.
made it very clear to them that this is a redemption trip," said Watson.
"Those players that played on that team...it's time to make amends and
try to redeem yourselves for what happened in 2012.
think it's a motivation rather than a negative. I know our team is
totally committed to bringing the cup back and I'm going to do
everything in my power to help them do that."
Watson said any
fourballs, foursomes or singles victory over world number one Rory
McIlroy would give his team's confidence a lift and that his players
were also looking to minimise Europe talisman Ian Poulter's impact on
"Whenever you beat the stud on the opposing team it gives your team a boost, no question," the U.S. skipper said of McIlroy.
"I think with Ian, he is an 80 percent victor over the series of matches he's played in. We'd like to reduce that."
and American left-hander Bubba Watson both played through a wall of
noise on the first tee at Medinah, prompting criticism from some
establishment figures who felt it was out of place in a game where
decorum and respect are key components.
McGinley and Watson agreed that instances like that were okay as long as they were kept to a minimum.
are great traditionalists Tom and myself," said McGinley, "and
certainly we'll be leading our teams with a great understanding and
reverence towards the rules and traditions.
"What Bubba did
spontaneously on the first tee at Medinah as a one-off was, I thought,
fantastic. I wouldn't want it every round but at that moment I thought
it was great.
"Having said that, just like crowd behaviour, there is a line and we all want to stay on the right side of that line."
said: "I concur with what Paul said exactly. There is a moment for
certain things to happen but there is a line that you shouldn't cross."