Paul McGinley will become just the third Irish player to make 500 European Tour appearances when he tees it up in the Barclays Scottish Open today.
The 44-year old joins Eamonn Darcy (610 appearances) and Des Smyth (594) in the 500-club and hopes that he still has plenty of good golf to play before his niggling knee problems force him to hang up his spikes.
Who knows, he might eventually get his reward for his long service to the European Tour and become the first Irishman to skipper the European Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2014. He reflected on his career on the European Tour website:
“The Volvo Masters was probably my biggest win and is a great highlight of my career,” he said.” I’d lost to Michael Campbell in the World Match Play final which hurt a lot so it was great to come back and win at Valderrama a month later. Losing to Michael is the one I really regret. He had just won the US Open and I was down the whole match which was played over 36 holes and I got him back to all square with six to play and then lost, having fought my way back. Anybody’s career has highs and lows though and going on to the Volvo Masters was a definite high.”
Perhaps his most notable achievement however has been his role in The Ryder Cup, where his fierce competitiveness came to the fore as he helped Europe to three consecutive victories over the United States, memorably holing the winning putt on his debut in 2002 at The Belfry.
“It’s been quite a successful period for European Tour players and I like to think that I’ve been part of that with our successes in The Ryder Cup, where we have turned the momentum from losing most Ryder Cups to winning most of them,” he said.
“Being part of the turning of the tide in Ryder Cup’s has been great. We won three in a row and they were the three that I played in. That has provided a base for the success that European players are now having in majors.
“Holing the winning putt in The 2002 Ryder Cup at the Belfry was probably the highlight of my career and is what I will be remembered for. I’ve played three Ryder Cups and I’ve never lost in a Seve Trophy Team or a Ryder Cup Team. It’s a great record and I’ve also never lost a singles match.
“Winning the World Cup with Padraig Harrington was a huge highlight for both of us too. To go on the world stage and win so early in our career was great. Particularly as we went to the same school and are from the same part of Dublin.”