Ryder Cup: ‘I always felt I was half a day ahead of Watson’

European team captain Paul McGinley poses with the Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, yesterday (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire).
European team captain Paul McGinley poses with the Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, yesterday (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire).
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Paul McGinley was definitely not boasting when describing his personal approach to Ryder Cup captaincy, but nevertheless neatly summed up the difference between himself and opposite number Tom Watson.

“I always felt once the morning session was on, I was planning the move for the afternoon,” McGinley said. “I always felt I was half a day ahead.”

Whether he was half a day or just several steps ahead, McGinley certainly deserved all the praise which came his way after Europe retained the Ryder Cup with a five-point victory over the United States at Gleneagles.

The 47-year-old Dubliner was hailed as “modern” and “methodical” by Sergio Garcia, “absolutely immense” by Rory McIlroy and a model for future captains by Lee Westwood, who was playing under his ninth different captain.

McIlroy felt McGinley got his approach just right as communication with the team was vital.

“Of course it is, you have to make sure your players are comfortable,” he added. “We had a great team meeting on Saturday evening about where we wanted to play and what order we wanted to go out in.

“Paul said ‘If anyone is not happy with this we’ll change it, we’ll figure it out’, so every decision that has been made the vice-captains and players have all been involved in.

“I know he has lived and breathed the Ryder Cup for the last two years and has made sure everything has gone right and gone to plan. I hope it is something that future European captains can go on with.”

In contrast, 65-year-old Watson was openly criticised by Phil Mickelson, just two hours after the contest was over.

Mickelson himself was then strongly criticised for making his feelings known in public and stating his support for the methods of Paul Azinger, who captained the side to their last win at Valhalla in 2008.

Former PGA Tour player Brandel Chamblee, who now works as an analyst, said: “That was as close to a one-man mutiny as I have ever seen.”

Azinger open to Ryder Cup reprise as captain: Page 19.