McGinley wants Seve Trophy pick

By Brian Keogh

Paul McGinley is desperate for a captain's pick from Nick Faldo for the Seve Trophy at the Heritage.

The Dubliner, 40, says he'd love to renew his long-time partnership with Open champion and close pal Padraig Harrington in front of his home fans from September 27-30.

With Harrington deciding to skip this year's Omega Mission Hills World Cup, McGinley sees the clash between Faldo's Great Britain and Ireland and Seve's Contintental Europe as his best chance of playing with Harrington again.

Set to return to the fairways at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Dusseldorf in two weeks, McGinley has been recharging his batteries for an assault on the world rankings and Ryder Cup points list.

But he knows that he is going to need a pick from Nick if he is to make the Seve trophy team, which will be finalised after the German event.

McGinley said: "I am going to need a pick and I am obviously hopeful of that. I have got a really good record in the Seve Trophy.

"I'd love to play with Padraig again and as a Ryder Cup player I think I will have a strong chance of a pick."

So far the GB&I side looks certain to feature Harrington, Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Paul Casey, Colin Montgomerie, Graeme Storm, Bradley Dredge and Nick Dougherty with skipper Faldo adding two captain's picks.

The first four players come directly from the world rankings with the next four chosed from the European Order of Merit.

Ballesteros' European stars look certain to feature the likes of Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Niclas Fasth, Anders Hansen, Gregory Havret, Soren Hansen, Raphael Jacquelin and Peter Hanson.

Spaniard Garcia skipped the Seve Trophy in 2005 but with the US season coming to an end in two weeks time, he will not have a clashing event in the US this time and could be set for a revenge clash with Harrington in the singles after his Carnoustie disappointment.

McGinley's chances of a pick look strong after Faldo named him as one of his vice-captain's designate for the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.

But the Dubliner is still determined to play his way into the Ryder Cup side for a fourth successive cap.

His first objective is to rediscover his form and he's convinced that it is just a matter of time before the old Paul McGinley makes a reappearance.

Down nearly 150 places to 164th in the world, McGinley has had a desperate time since he won the Volvo Masters in 2005.

In the 47 events he has played since then, the GAA-mad Irish star has had just three top-10 finishes.

But the last of those came nearly a year ago and he's determined to haul himself out of his slump before the end of the season.

Despite playing in the last group at the Open in Carnoustie, McGinley finishing position of 19th was typical of his play over the last two years.

And it was a similar story in the US PGA at Southern Hills, where he opened with a 66 put slipped to tied 60th after a rash of big numbers over the weekend.

Analysing his fall from grace, McGinley said: "It is a bit fo a mystery still because it is not as if I have played disastrously badly.

"I've only missed three cuts this year but I haven't scaled the heights. I haven't had the big finishes and as everyone knows, world rankings and Order of Merits are very muich determined by world rankings.

"Even if I had two big finishes I would be right up there in the Order of Merit and the world rankings.

"I have been pretty consistent without putting any big finishes on the board and that is what I am lacking. I am hoping to do that between now and the end of the season."

The Dubliner will miss the start of the 2008 Ryder Cup campaign at Crans Sur Sierre next week as his children return to school.

But he will be gunning for all the points and cash he can get once he gets to Germany for the limited field Mercedes-Benz event.

He added: "For me it is all about playing well. There have been flashes of playing some really good golf over the past couple of months but I haven't done it over a four day period.

"There have been flashes and that is a good omen. But I have to do it over four days and not just one.

"There were glimpses in there. I played really well in the Open but I didn't score as well as I played. I am obviously really disappointed with my finishing position because I didn't play badly on Sunday.

"A closing 73 put me back in the field and eight guys finished ahead of me - you could say I got trampled in the stampede.

"One shot better and it was a top 10 or close to it, which wouldn't have been a bad result. But look, it didn't happen. I had a double bogey on the seventh hole and that has been too frequent this year.

"I have had too many double bogeys. And that is something I haven;t done throughout my career. I haven't had a lot of double and triple bogeys. but for some reason, the last six months I have had quite my fair share of doubels and triples.

"Consistent Paul, that's what's lacking. The consistency has been the mainstay of my career and what I have done and it hasn't been there over the last 12-18 months. and I have paid the price in terms of world rankings and order of merit position."

As for the 2008 Ryder Cup in Kentucky, McGinley is determined to be there as a player and not a back room boy.

He insisted: "Absolutely I want to play. That is the whole point of it. I don't want to be a vice captain.

"I will only start thinking about that from the 31 August next year after the team is finalised."

(World Cup mystery)

Graeme McDowell says he'd love to play for Ireland in November's Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

But with Ireland looking likely to be forced to qualify, the Ulsterman has no idea who his partner will be.

The 18 exempt nations will be decided on Monday based on the official world rankings.

And with world No 7 Padraig Harrington deciding to skip the event this year for the first time since 1997, Ireland could be forced to send a two-man team to Aruba or Kuala Lumpur for the international qualifiers from September 27-30.

A further ten nations will take their places at Mission Hills in China through the qualifiers, but McDowell is still hopeful that Ireland will get a last minute exemption.

He said: "It is all a bit up in the air. I'd love to play World Cup but where it falls in the schedule is not ideal.

"The World Cup qualifiers are the same week as the Seve Trophy and just a week before the Dunhills Links.

"So if I was in the running for the Seve Trophy it is not ideal. I'll just play it by ear.

"I hear we are not 100 percent out of the running for a spot. There might be a chance that so many guys decide not to play that it will go far enough down the world rankings to allow us to play in it."

As things stand, the top 18 available players in the world's top 100 on Monday can choose their partners providing they are also ranked in the top 100.

But with Harrington Ireland's only top 100 player, our next highest ranked players are No 126 McDowell and 143rd ranked Darren Clarke.

Clarke hasn't played in the World Cup since 1996 and has consistently given up his right to play in the side to allow McGinley to partner Harrington every year since, winning in 1997.

That puts world No 164 McGinley back in the frame again but if Ireland have to qualify, McGinley would be forced to choose between the qualifier and a possible Seve Trophy invite.

And if Ireland does have to qualify, McDowell wants to a partner who will not take a "half-assed" attitude to the event.

He added: "As far as qualifying goes, it is not out of the question. It is going to mean a major decision for me but I'd love to have a go at it.

"I very much doubt that Darren would be available and it is just a pity that the qualifiers are so far away - Kuala Lumpur and Aruba. And with the Seve Trophy. it looks as though Paul will not be available.

"If the decision comes down to me, whoever my partner is going to be, they will have to be right up for it.

"There is no point in going all the way to a qualifier to have a half-assed go at it. If I go, I will be giving it 110 percent."

If McGinley gets a Seve Trophy call up, McDowell's next available partner will be Damien McGrane or Peter Lawrie.

He added: "The way the qualifiers work, we should get a spot. We won't be up against anyone outstanding so there is a very good chance we will qualify if we play well."

World No 261 McGrane had no idea where the World Cup or the qualifiers were being held this year.

He said: "I haven't thought about it to be honest. It hadn't entered my mind. I'll be looking at it now though."

If recent World Cup experience is anything to go by, the likes of Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia will not be competing on the Jose Maria Olazabal-designed course from November 22-25.

Last year even the lure of a week in Barbados in December was only strong enough to attract two members of the world's top 10, Luke Donald and Harrington.

This year, Harrington has decided to skip the event as his wife is due to give birth to the couple's second child early in December.

But the fact that the event no longer comes under the World Golf Championships umbrella has severely affected its prestige.

Scotland's Colin Montgomerie only committed this week, saving last year's runner-up nation the embarrassment of having to qualify.