European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has given his backing to those players opting to miss this weekend’s Wales Open at Celtic Manor and hinted that his approach to leading the European team will be laid back and conducive with players taking key decisions for themselves.
Amongst the European team’s absentees from the Wales Open are Victor Dubuisson of France and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell. For 2010 US Open winner McDowell, it seems that the reasons for his absence are personal but Dubuisson’s reasoning is far less clear.
"I spoke to Graeme. There are reasons why he didn't play - his wife has just had a baby," McGinley said.
As for Dubuisson who pulled out of the tournament at late notice; "Vic is Vic and he decided to say at a very late stage he would prepare better in France. He's a guy who disappears and then comes out of nowhere and plays well in a tournament,” the 2012 Vice-Captain added, before clarifying that he was happy with the arrangements. “I've no problem with him having an extended period off. I know he's really keyed up for next week."
Dubuisson - who is currently eighth in the Race to Dubai - has enjoyed a consistent season, finishing in the money in 12 out of the 15 tournaments that he has entered. Despite this consistency, however, he has yet to finish higher than second on the tour this year.
Entering the Wales Open would have given the 24-year-old a fantastic opportunity to break his 2014 duck and become acclimatised to British conditions, so his decision to stay in France is bold to say the least.
As for McDowell, the decision to take some paternity leave is far more understandable and the experience of having represented Europe at three Ryder Cups in the past will mean that he knows as well as anyone what preparation is needed in order to succeed.
It is difficult to see what McGinley would have achieved by publicly criticising McDowell or Dubuisson, but his decision to come out and back them suggests that he is relaxed about the upcoming Ryder Cup.
McGinley - the first Irishman to captain the European team - is confident that his players know best how to prepare for the rigours of the competition and, regardless of their experience, he is happy to let them make their own choices.
This relaxed outlook bodes well for Europe’s Ryder Cup defence and suggests that McGinley and his team could be worth a punt for those who enjoy a bet on golf. Team Europe are currently 13/20 favourites to retain their crown at Gleneagles, while those who enjoy backing the underdog can find Team USA at 7/4 to record a first Ryder Cup success since 2008.