LA QUINTA, Calif. – It is possible, even likely, that Paul McGinley’s best attributes as Ryder Cup captain will have nothing to do with pairings, pods or picks. Instead, it may be the Irishman’s hands-off approach with his players. He treats them like adults.
“Just the simple things,” former European Ryder Cupper Ross Fisher said Tuesday when asked what he remembers about McGinley, a two-time Seve Trophy captain and a Ryder Cup vice captain in Wales (2010) and Medinah (’12). “He’d say, ‘I’m booking a table every single night (for dinner). If you want to join me, you can. If you want to do your own thing, you can. It’s your week.’
“He made it very easy for players to get along with each other and do what they want to do,” Fisher continued. “And when it got down to business, he picked some very good pairings and gave inspirational team talks. You could tell the determination he had and the drive to win.”
And McGinley did win, repeatedly. He has never lost a team competition as a player, captain or vice captain.
Those professional bona fides may not register in the States, but Fisher insists that McGinley is a “very well-respected guy in Europe.” Certainly, those accomplishments haven’t been forgotten amongst his peers. Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell, among others, all took to Twitter to voice their support for his candidacy – “That speaks volumes,” Fisher said – even if he lacks the star power of Tom Watson, who will lead the U.S. team at Gleneagles.
“When you mention the name Tom Watson, you think of a legend in the game,” Fisher said. “I wouldn’t say Paul is as big of a name, obviously, but that’s not to say that he’s not well-respected in the game.”