Pádraig Harrington believes Paul McGinley will spend the next 18 months scribbling in his little black book and trying to get to know every rookie on tour. But the new Ryder Cup skipper won’t have to dig too deep into his notes when it comes to world No 72 Scott Jamieson.
The 29-year old Scot, who broke through to win in the Nelson Mandela Championship in December and came close to winning again in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Volvo Golf Champions, is a big fan of Europe’s new captain.
Having played under him in Great Britain and Ireland’s 2011 Seve Trophy win over continental Europe, Jamieson knows what makes McGinley such a popular captain.
According to a John Huggan’s Scotland on Sunday column profiling the third highest ranked Scot in the world behind Paul Lawrie and Richie Ramsay:
“Paul was terrific as non-playing captain,” recalls Jamieson. “He was especially nice to me, the rookie. He took me to the side and explained what my role was and what he expected from me – which was to enjoy myself and do my best. He completely put me at ease. Which makes me think he’ll be a great Ryder Cup captain. He was brilliant in the team room and got us all fired up to play.”
Harrington is happy that his former Ryder Cup and World Cup winning partner has landed the job.
As he prepared to head off to the US for a four-week run that will take him from Phoenix to Pebble Beach and Los Angeles before the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona, Harrington told Irish radio station Newstalk:
“He’s probably sacrificed three years of his playing career to get this captaincy and he is going to sacrifice the next 18 months as well because there is a lot of distraction with it. Every week he is going to be asked questions about the Ryder Cup and doing work for the Ryder Cup. That means every week he is not concentrating on playing golf. But that’s what he wants, this is what he really loves and fair play to him for it.
“Already we see him out with his little black book, he’s taking notes and listening and he will be trying to get to know every rookie and his game over the next 18 months just in case one of them makes the team. There are all sorts of things going on in his head.”
Speaking to George Hook on the same station earlier in the week, Harrington added:
“Paul McGinley just loves team events, which is very, very odd for a professional golfer because professional golf is a very, very selfish sport. And yet you have Paul McGinley, who is fascinated with it. We joke with Paul McGinley, we’d be watching the Champions League and Paul would be watching Celtic play and we’d say, is he going to ring Neil Lennon at halftime. He just loves team play. He loves Donegal, he loves Dublin and he loves Celtic. He loves the Ryder Cup, he loves the Vivendi (Seve) Trophy… I am delighted he got it.. But nobody has ever put as much effort into it, certainly in professional golf.
“The worst thing about professional golf for kids is that can be so selfish and if [players] don’t play team sports with it, it hampers their ability to progress in golf because it is so selfish that when the scores don’t happen and you start plateauing it is very hard. Whereas if you are in a team environment, you learn very quickly that if you’ve had a bad game and the team wins, you celebrate. And if you’ve had a good game and the team loses, you commiserate. You don’t start cheering because you scored a goal and you lost.”
While Harrington tees it up in the Waste Management Open in Phoenix for the first time this week, McGinley will be in the desert for the Dubai Desert Classic where he will be joined by Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane and Gareth Maybin.
Darren Clarke, who had listed the event on his on-line schedule, is no longer among the entries.