Newly appointed Europe captain Paul McGinley is going to “park” his Ryder Cup responsibilities for the next six weeks and concentrate on his own golf game, starting with today’s OneAsia’s season-opening Thailand Open.
The Dubliner has thrown himself into his new role since being chosen in mid-January to skipper Team Europe at the 2014 Ryder Cup with planning meetings and a visit to Gleneagles in Scotland, the venue for the clash with the Americans in two years’ time.
However, he believes the time is right to enjoy being a golfer again for a spell although with close friend and three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington and last year’s winner Chris Wood also competing in the Thailand Open, his Ryder Cup radar will still be switched on.
“I have played a little bit at home and practiced a bit in between all the meetings I have had the last four or five weeks,” said the four-time winner on the European Tour. “I feel that my game is not too bad in terms of how I am hitting the ball, how I am chipping and putting. Now it is a question of competition and competition sharpens that.”
“I am playing in America next week (Tavistock Cup) and then I have a few weeks off and then I play in China and Korea. I have got a good bit of golf coming up and the Ryder Cup stuff I am going to park for the next six weeks and I am going to be a golfer and I am looking forward to that.”
McGinley, 46, said that it would be a huge challenge keeping his golf game in shape in the lead up to the 2014 Ryder Cup and knows that history is against him.
“It is a challenge, there is no doubt about that. I think history proves that being Ryder Cup captain always takes a toll on a captain’s playing career,” said McGinley, famous for holing the winning putt for Europe in the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry.
“I am aware of that history and all the stuff that goes on, but I would like to think I am going to be different and I am going to play well over the next two years. Certainly it is a good motivating factor for me.”
Having missed the cut in last year’s Thailand Open, McGinley is hoping for an improved performance at Thana City Golf & Sports Club.
“I like the golf course and I prefer it to the one we played last year. I did not play particularly well last year, although it was a good golf course,” he said ahead of his opening round in the U.S. $1 million event on Thursday.