Paul McGinley believes he will have to prove himself all over again when he skippers a decimated Great Britain and Ireland in next month’s Vivendi Seve Trophy in Paris.
The 44-year old Dubliner is resigned to the reality that he will be asked to advance his Ryder Cup captaincy credentials with a team weakened by no-shows for the second edition in a row.
Hand-picked by Ryder Cup skipper Jose Maria Olazabal to retain his captaincy, McGinley could be without major winners Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy as well as world No 2 Lee Westwood and Volvo World Match Play champion Ian Poulter at St-Nom-la Bretèche from September 15–18.
Despite that, he has no intention of phoning the big names who are threatening to stay away, insisting that it’s up to Olazabal to convince them to turn up.
McGinley said: “I’ve had no commitments from anyone and to be honest, it is not my role to go chasing them. That’s up to Jose Maria Olazabal in his role as Ryder Cup captain and I don’t want to overstep the mark.
“The indications are that there are going to be quite a few top players missing from the Great Britain and Ireland team compared to the Europeans.
“I know that Jose Maria is really struggling with the British and Irish players. He didn’t mention names but he is really struggling to get them to commit.”
Qualifying for the teams ends after the Omega European Masters on September 4 and as things stand, the 10 automatic places in the GB & I side are filled by Donald, Westwood, McIlroy, McDowell, Poulter, Clarke, Simon Dyson, Paul Casey, Mark Foster and Robert Rock.
ISM boss Chubby Chandler said that Irish Open champion Dyson was likely to play in Paris but that Westwood, Open champion Clarke and US Open winner McIlroy were “doubtful.”
The event clashes with the second leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs in Boston, which means that players such as Donald, Martin Laird, Poulter, McDowell and Justin Rose could all be forced to stay away.
McGinley impressively led GB&I to a 16.5-11.5 victory two years ago without the help of Westwood, Donald, Rose, Poulter, Paul Casey or Padraig Harrington.
McGinley said: “I was very fortunate that Graeme and Rory provided the backbone for me the last time but I don’t know if they are going to play this year or not.
“Although this isn’t a vice captaincy it is the same thing. It is Olazabal’s show as Ryder Cup captain and ultimately he calls the shots in terms of Seve Trophy captains.
“It is not my call to call Darren or anyone else. It is Olazabal’s call to get in touch with the boys and see who is going to play.
“Whatever team I am given at the end of the qualification, I will take it and go with it. That’s what I had to do the last time.”
Another successful stint at captain could open the door for McGinley to skipper the 2014 Ryder Cup team but he’s not getting ahead of himself.
McGinley said: “The Ryder Cup captaincy is so far away and so much can happen before the next captain is picked. We will just have to wait and see. There are so many guys with very strong credentials looking to be captain and I am one of them and one of many.
“This is not going to hurt me but it is not a lock on by any stretch of the imagination. I have got to prove myself again.
“Just because I did a good job last time and things went well, hopefully I can bring what I learnt the last time forward and have another good week.”
The event was the brainchild of the late Seve Ballesteros and McGinley is hoping that it will be a fitting tribute to the five0time major winner and Ryder Cup inspiration.
He said: “Obviously with Seve’s sad passing earlier this year, there will be added poignancy, particularly with José Maria being involved. Two years ago Seve was in our thoughts, both in the team room and outside. I’m sure he’ll be looking down on us, and hopefully we can put on an event worthy of him.”
The event in held in non-Ryder Cup years to help the Ryder Cup captain run his eye over potential team members and give players a taste of matchplay competition at the highest level.
McGinley believes that the 2009 edition was a huge help to Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup side at Celtic Manor last year with McDowell and McIlroy already a proven partnership thanks to their brilliant performances in Paris.
“Certainly Graeme and Rory were better players in the Ryder Cup for having played the Vivendi,” McGinley said. “That’s not just because they played well together but because the buzz they got from team events was carried through and I have no doubt about that. I’d be surprised if the Vivendi didn’t help them.
“I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and how much of a buzz I got out of doing it. I certainly didn’t find it that way as a vice captain in the Ryder Cup.
“I thought that was a very difficult role because you don’t want to overstep the captain and get involved in conversations with players that the captain is not overseeing. I stood back a lot at Celtic Manor and any communication I had with the players was through Monty.
“I didn’t feel it was my role to talk to the players whereas when I was captain I was able to do all that myself and have my communication and one on ones with the players. That’s the biggest thing.”
The Vivendi Seve Trophy has been played six times, with Continental Europe winning the first edition at Sunningdale in England while Great Britain and Ireland have won the last five matches.
McGinley is honoured to be chosen again as captain, insisiting: “I am obviously looking forward to it. I enjoyed doing it last time and it is nice to be asked again and nice to be asked for a different captain.
“Monty did it last time and picked the captains for a reason and now to be recognised by another Ryder Cup captain is a great honour.”
The event comprises two teams of ten players, who play fourballs, greensomes, foursomes and singles over the four days.
Qualification for the teams began at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2010 and finishes after the Omega European Masters on September 4. The top five players in the Official World Golf Ranking and the top five in The Race to Dubai Rankings will qualify.
As things stand, the 10 automatic qualifiers for the Continent of Europe are: Martin Kaymer, Robert Karlsson, Francesco Molinari, Anders Hansen, Álvaro Quirós, Alexander Noren, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Nicolas Colsaerts, Pablo Larrazábal and Thomas Bjorn.