GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Paul McGinley entered the opening day of the Ryder Cup with a plan – and he stuck with it in ways that weren’t directly seen on the scoreboard.
Like many captains before him, McGinley had planned to play all 12 of his players on the first day. Like perhaps none before, he played them at the same time. While eight players were competing in the morning fourball matches, the other four played part of the course two holes behind them.
“It's no secret now, I can talk about it, because it's obviously on the radar now and people see what's happening,” McGinley said after his team took a 5-3 lead. “Des Smyth played the fifth vice captain role today and his job was to look after the four who were not on the golf course, and you could see by the results of the four who were not on the golf course, it was pretty good. He was communicating with them from 9:00 this morning. They were all on different agendas. A couple them played a few holes together.
“Des was with them and communicating and he was communicating with me and I was giving him messages that he was passing on to the players. So they were in full communication with me through Des as to what role they would be playing in the afternoon. So they knew a few hours in advance as to what number they were playing. They knew they were playing. I had a plan of playing all 12 players, and that's what that was about.”
The plan worked to perfection. Those four players – Lee Westwood, Jamie Donaldson, Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson – combined to win two afternoon foursomes matches.