Ireland’s Paul McGinley will miss his third cut from four starts this season when the weather delayed Avantha Masters reaches the halfway point in New Delhi later today.
The 42-year old Dubliner, who shot rounds of 76 and 75 at DLK Golf and Country Club, has struggled to find any kind of form since he underwent knee surgery for the sixth time in his career at the end of 2009.
The three time Ryder Cup winner is only exempt this season on the strength of his position in the top 40 of the Career Money List at the end of a 2010 campaign that saw him finish 123rd in the Race to Dubai standings.
Tipped as the favourite to captain Europe’s Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014, McGinley’s cause will not be helped if he loses his card this year.
With Darren Clarke a potential rival for the job, McGinley knows he must remain active as long as possible to strengthen his chances of becoming the first Irishman to get the job.
As far as his playing ambitions go, his lack of length off the tee is becoming a serious issue in an age of long bombers and even longer courses. And that’s what makes his failure in New Delhi even more depressing.
Shackled by his short hitting during the Gulf Swing on courses that were once fast and bouncy but are now lush and rough-lined, McGinley head to the sub-continent with high hopes of finding a challenge to suit his game.
“The Desert Swing has become a lush, soft test of golf compared to the links style of course it used to be, and that’s now the common theme in golf,” McGinley said in Dubai last week.
“That’s the reason why I always used to play well in Dubai because the courses were bouncy and firm but now there is so many dog-legs with the new tee boxes that it’s not the same golf course. In India it’s a firm and bouncy course and a good test of golf, and so different to the Middle East.”
McGinley started his week with a triple bogey seven and then kissed his hopes of making the cut goodbye when he parred his first eight holes in round two before making a double bogey seven at this ninth hole, the 18th, to drift to six over.
He then played the front nine in one over with two birdies outweighed by a bogey and a double bogey six.
Gareth Maybin, another shortish hitter who was happy to leave the Middle East behind, is five strokes off the lead on three under after rounds of 70 and 71.
Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello leads by a shot in the clubhouse on eight under par after a 69, knowing that a second European Tour victory would secure his place in next month’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.
The top 10 in the Race to Dubai following this week’s event qualify automatically for the second WGC event of the season and Cabrera Bello is 11th in the money list (€31,043 behind Louis Oosthuizen) and the highest ranked R2D player chasing a top prize of €300,000.