Fitting reward for ultimate team player McGinley
RYDER CUP 2014:For years, the biographical note under Paul McGinley’s entry in the European Tour’s media guide carried the blithely damned-with-faint-praise line that he would “henceforth be remembered as the man who holed the winning putt in the 34th Ryder Cup matches”.
That 10-footer on the 18th green at The Belfry in 2002 is the long and short of what golf followers worldwide know of Mick McGinley’s son but now they will get the chance to become far better acquainted. How he is henceforth to be remembered will come down to one week at the end of September next year.
Ultimately, the fact he only ever won four tournaments didn’t matter and neither did any worries the European Tour might have had that he didn’t have sufficient stature to match US captain Tom Watson. It was a golf decision based on universal support from Europe’s best players and in deference to McGinley’s long-served apprenticeship for the role.
A dutiful team man in an individual world, McGinley has built a career on the back of his knack for team golf. As the first Irish captain of a Ryder Cup team, it was fitting then that he spent part of last night in Abu Dhabi explaining to the world that it was the GAA that set him on the road to the stage he was sitting on.
“Gaelic football is where I started. If you look at my career, it’s quite modest compared to the ex-captains that we’ve had in Ryder Cups, and that’s what’s very humbling for me to be in this position. I obviously don’t match the record that they have in terms of what they have achieved in major championships and what not.
“But what I did do in my career was I always performed extremely highly when I did play as part of a team. I don’t know why. I wish I could have done the same as an individual. But I certainly went to another level when I played in team golf.
“I think – and some psychologists might explain it this way – it goes back to my Gaelic football days, being part of the team, being in the dressing room . . . and everyone pulling the same way.
“My heart ticks a bit faster and my adrenaline goes more and I just love the environment of being in a team. In Ryder Cup situations I love the team meetings, I love everything that goes with it . . . .”
Having played on three winning Ryder Cup teams, McGinley first got the sniff of a possible route to the captaincy in the 2009 Seve Trophy.