McGinley controlled tee times

2014-09-30 17:30
Paul McGinley (AFP)

St. Andrews - Eight years ago as the Ryder Cup qualifying was ending, 10 of the top 20 players in the U.S. standings were either in the same group or in a group with captain Tom Lehman.

It looked as if it was rigged, though the PGA Tour promised it was done by computer and merely a coincidence.

"The computer doesn't know the difference between the Ryder Cup and a coffee cup," top rules official Slugger White said then.

That isn't the case in Europe.

Because the European Tour is so vested in the Ryder Cup, captain Paul McGinley was given control over the tee times for the opening rounds at tournaments. Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson playing together in the French Open was no accident.

McGinley wanted them for foursomes at Gleneagles, and they wound up winning both their matches.

"I was able to get Victor and Graeme on the same page," he said.

"I controlled the draws on the European Tour during the summer, and every time Graeme came to play in Europe, he played with Victor. They didn't know what I was planning, but I had planned that they would be partners."

Why put together a Frenchman who barely speaks and a Northern Irishman who never stops talking?

McGinley saw a need for McDowell to be the leader of a team match. McDowell suggested as much himself in explaining why the dynamic of him and good friend Rory McIlroy had changed as McIlroy emerged as the best in the world.

"It's very, very difficult to be that senior partner," McGinley said.

He mentioned the role Seve Ballesteros played in a match he won with David Gilford, and he believes that Nicolas Colsaerts was able to thrive at Medinah because he had Lee Westwood on his side.

He had hoped for Ian Poulter to be that senior partner with Stephen Gallacher, but Gallacher was added to the team so late that he couldn't prepare Poulter for the task.

McDowell was the last European to qualify, though McGinley had told McDowell after the PGA Championship he would be on the team one way or another.

"I knew that his wife was about to have the baby," McGinley said.

"I wanted him to enjoy that experience and not feel the pressure if just missed out on the team."

Maybe that's what McIlroy meant when he said that the European captain "left no stone unturned."

It should be noted that McDowell and Dubuisson played together in one other European Tour-sanctioned event this year, and McGinley had nothing to do with it.

That was the Match Play Championship, where Dubuisson beat him on the 18th hole in Arizona to reach the semi-finals.

Read more on:    ryder cup  |  paul mcginley  |  golf

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