Paul McGinley is praying his career doesn’t go “wham-bam” as quickly as his left knee.
The Dubliner, 44, tees it up in the BMW PGA this week knowing that he must go under the knife for the eighth time at the end of the season.
He’s crashed to 560th in the world from a career high of 18th in 2005 but with power out of the equation at fast-running Wentworth he believes he can still have a say at the top level.
Without a top 10 finish since October 2009, McGinley said: “There are very few courses that don’t reward the wham-bam style of golf but Wentworth is an example of one that doesn’t.”
Smiling, he added: “I don’t know if golf is still keen on me playing and my knee is giving me problems. But I’m still keen on playing it. I still really enjoy it.
“I’ve had a very slow start to the year, which has been very disappointing. But it’s a long year and I’m long enough playing to know it can pick up very quickly.
“You probably have to go back 18 months to where I felt I had a really good week, I was on top of my game and was really competing. But I still hit so many good quality shots, I know it’s in there waiting to come out.”
McGinley knows he must remain competitive if he is to become the first Irishman to captain a Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014.
He’s playing on a one-year special exemption thanks to his place in the Top 40 career earners on the European Tour. However, his world ranking means that he is only 11th reserve for the International Final Qualifying event for the Open at Sunningdale on June 6.
The emergence of the power game has seen him fall way behind the competition in recent years, yet he still reckons he can add to his haul of €10.5m in on course earnings in this week’s BMW PGA as the big-hitters are kept under control.
He said: “There’s no doubt the game has moved on. It’s no longer the game that was around five or six years ago. But that’s the way the game evolves and I’ve got to move with it. Of course I still feel competitive. I still feel there’s plenty in there.
“It’s interesting when you get a golf course that doesn’t reward the wham-bam kind of player, how the older player seems to come through. At Sawgrass, you had Choi, who’s been around a long time and has been a very steady player. David Toms, whose been very quiet like me for a number of years and, all of a sudden, he rears up again. Paul Goydos.
“The quality and style of golf courses we play nowadays very much dictate success. A lot of the courses we play are not like TPC or Wentworth. That course where Darren won (two weeks ago), Pula in Majorca, was a wonderful test of golf.
“It was a short golf course, par 70, but it was brick hard. It was all about controlling the ball and hitting it on the fairway so you could then spin it off the fairway and into the green.
“As you all know, Darren is a wonderful controller of the ball so it’s now surprise he won. Even me last week (Mallorca), I played really well. If I’d have putted half decent I’d have been right up there. I putted not just bad but abysmally.
“Yet I loved the golf course and the test we faced last week. That golf course really suited me and that’s what was most disappointing about missing the cut – the course was right up my street.
“Unfortunately, only five or 10 per cent of the courses we play on Tour nowadays are like that. Most of them have big, wide fairways like the London Club, where we played the European Open a few years ago.
“Wentwoth is one of those golf courses that suit me. One of the courses I’ve played really well on in the past. I’ve not won here but I’ve finished second twice, to Cabreara in the PGA and Campbell in the Match Play.”
Wentworth will be hard and fast after a recent drought and that gives McGinley some chance of contending.
“You look at Simon Khan winning here last year. Anders Hansen has won around here twice before and he’s a very, very, very steady ball-control kind of golfer. Then if you go to the big, wide-open courses, you get a different kind of golfer.
“The Tour has very much gone that way because commercially, the Tour has to go where the money is and the money usually comes from new courses which are trying to promote themselves, so they are normally 7,300 or 7,400 and green as green can be so they look good on TV and good for the owners who are pleased their course looks good and that rewards a certain type of player as well.”
McGinley is already looking to the future with a string of business ventures on the boil.
His ClubstoHire.com equipment rental company is taking off with punters in Spain, Portugal and Ireland now renting top of the range clubs at the airport from €35 a week
McGinley said: “In these economic times we’re trying to save money for everybody. Every golfer who’s going away on holiday can gain from the niche that we see in the market.
“It’s a lifestyle change we are trying to make. We’re trying to get people, when they go on holiday, to think of renting clubs instead of bringing their own.
“We’re trying to take advantage of what’s going on out there and provide a service. Obviously we want to make money on the back of that but part of our service is we don’t rip people off.
“For example, if we charged 100 Euro for a set for a week, which is still pretty cheap, people will say ‘well, what’s the point, I’ll bring my own clubs for the same price’.”