McGinley backs GUI

By Brian Keogh

Ireland will have a magnificent seven players in next week's Open at Carnoustie.

And Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley believes the credit it all due to the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI).

Waterville's David Higgins and Birr's Justin Kehoe scorched through Local Qualifying this week to join McGinley. Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and amateur Rory McIlroy in the game's oldest major.

And while McGinley is not the least bit surprised, he wants all seven to put on a show by playing well.

Speaking before the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, he said: "It's just great news for Irish golf that we will have seven Irish players teeing up at Carnoustie

"But it's not a surprise as the standard of golf among Irish players at present is very high and I will again reiterate that a lot of the credit has to go to the Golfing Union of Ireland as they set us all on the road and they are continuing to do so.

"I know David and Justin will be pleased to be playing their first British Open but it's all about playing well in the Open. There's no point going there on ceremony.

"You have to go there expecting to play well and while all the Irish will enjoy the occasion all seven of us will enjoy the occasion a million times more if we play well."