McGinley on European qualifying changes: "It will just boil down to my gut feeling"


Paul McGinley will wait until May before deciding on any potential changes to the European Ryder Cup qualifying systemEuropean Ryder Cup skipper Paul McGinley says he will rely on his “gut feeling” before deciding if he wants an extra captain’s pick for the 2014 clash with Tom Watson’s USA at Gleneagles.

Veteran Watson announced yesterday that he is reducing the number of American wildcards from four to three to give players a better chance to qualifying automatically.

And while it’s possible that McGinley will go the other way and increase Europe’s wildcards from two to three to give himself room for manoeuvre, he insisted yesterday that he wants to weigh up all his options and won’t make his feelings known until May.

“I see myself tweaking the system, that’s all,” McGinley said. “It won’t be a radical change, I can assure you of that. It boils down to whether I am going to have two or three picks.”

Colin Montgomerie had three wildcards for the 2010 matches in Wales while his successor José María Olazábal had just two for last September’s comeback victory at Medinah, where Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts joined the top five from both the European Points and World Points lists.

Reducing the number of places from the World Points List from five to four would give McGinley options should a top player based in the US fail to make the side automatically.

“If you look at it, since 1979, we have gone 60-40 in terms of two picks rather than three,” McGinley said. “Ironically in 1983, when Watson was captain, we had no picks.

“Every other time it has been 60-40 for two picks rather than three. So there is history on both sides. It will just boil down to my gut feeling.

“I am very much aware that the examination paper at Gleneagles will be very different to the examination paper at Medinah and you have to be able to tailor the team according to the exam.”

As for Watson’s decision to reduce the number of captain’s picks, McGinley was unconcerned.

“A the end of the day it is not hugely significant. I don’t know what Tom’s reasons were for going from four picks to three but I am sure they were good ones,” McGinley said. “All I know is that it is going to be a very formidable US team, no matter what way it is set out.

“There will be a good reason why he is doing that and I know we are going to have to perform very well to beat that US team.”

McGinley will get a chance to speak to 2012 European Ryder Cup winners such as Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Peter Hanson and Graeme McDowell when he plays in next week’s Tavistock Cup exhibition at Isleworth in Florida.

“I am coming close to what I am going to present to the committee during the BMW PGA at Wentworth,” McGinley said. “I am going out to The Players Championship at Sawgrass in May to work for Sky and I will speak to some of the players when I am out there.

“I am also going to speak to a couple of ex-captains and some European Tour officials just to gather a little bit more information and based on that I will be able to present my ideas and make a decision properly in May and explain how I would like to see the team formulated.”