Paul McGinley is keen to maintain his good form. Photo Jenny Matthews/www.golffile.iePaul McGinley admits his dodgy knee is a major worry as be bids to stand out as a Ryder Cup captaincy candidate.

The Dubliner, 45, knows that a big season will boost his chance of skippering Europe at Gleneagles in 2014.

But he’s wary about overdoing it and after struggling in Open qualifying at Sunningdale on Monday, he’s looking forward to getting back on the birdie trail on his old Royal Portrush stomping ground.

After three top 10s from his last four starts, McGinley said: “It’s a great buzz for me to be playing well again and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it this week because I love this course

“I’m excited. It’s just exciting to be back playing at a high standard again after playing poorly for two years.

“But my knee is a worry and unfortunately I’m in the meat of the season now with four tournaments in a row.”

McGinley pulled out of Open qualifying after an opening 75 when he felt soreness in his knee after tough week on a soft course in Germany.

A closing 66 in the BMW International Open on Sunday clinched a third place finish but he’d still love to qualify for the Open next month.

Needing a top-two this week to do it and with two more chances to come if he can finish in the top five in the French or Scottish Opens, he said: “To be honest, I’d have swopped that 66 on Sunday for the chance to play at Lytham. Monday at Sunningdale was a bitter disappointment for me.

“I don’t want to blame my knee for bad golf. It’s not about that. It’s about me maintaining a level of performance.

“I have to take Mondays and Tuesdays off these days because it’s all about maintenance for me.”

McGinley came close to winning the 1990 North of Ireland title at Royal Portrush but lost on the last when Darren Clarke holed a monster 50 footer in their final

He’d love to gain some revenge this week and he’s delighted to see Portrush in all its glory

On the chances of the Open returning to Ireland and Portrush, he added: “How can you ignore this? It certainly pushes the boat out.

“We’re not through the week yet – let’s hope it stands up well. But the players I’ve spoken all love the golf course.”