McGinley points to top guns not rookies as key: "The big players will decide this"

McGinley points to top guns not rookies as key: "The big players will decide this"
Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

Paul McGinley insists that the Ryder Cup will be won for Europe, not by the rookies but by the top players like Rory McIlroy.

While there has been much talk of Europe’s six rookies, McGinley knows that Ryder Cups are won and lost by the big guns like McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood.

He said: “Ryder Cups are very hard to win and trying to win away from home is really difficult. I think America will be favourites — we’re 2/1 with the bookies and they are 1/2. But there are a couple of things working in our favour. 

“We might have a lot of inexperience but we have a lot of form. Just look at the psychology of the picks. 

“We were looking at our guys, thinking, who do you leave out. And they were looking at their picks and saying, how do you justify him or him.

“Also they are under a lot of pressure with the task force and playing at home, so there is a lot of expectation on their shoulders to deliver and we can take advantage of that. 

“So those two dynamics should make us pretty buoyed and we have a good mixture of top players in form — Henrik winning the Open, Justin winning the Olympics, Rory winning the Deutsche Bank, Sergio winning in America this year. 

“Our top players are going to be very instrumental like they always are. The top players, to a large extent, will determine who wins this Ryder Cup. It depends on how they perform.

“If you look at it over the last 20 years, we’ve had a higher winning percentage ratio from our big players than the Americans.

“The likes of Monty, Darren, Lee or Sergio. Or Rory. That’s why we won. Our winning percentage from those guys is up at 70 percent. But with the US players like Phil Mickelson, it’s down at 50 percent.

“That’s the bottom line, your top players break the back of winning Ryder Cups. They carry the work load for the other guys. 

“As much as there is a lot of focus on our rookies, they wont let us down They have a lot of form and a lot of confidence but they won’t play every match.

“The big players will decide this to a large extent - how our top players do against theirs that will have a big bearing on it.”

McIlroy is a big part of that conversation and if his putter is even lukewarm, as he showed in winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, Davis Love has a massive challenge on his hands.