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Dubuisson in Dreamland at Ryder Cup

Gleneagles (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Victor Dubuisson is having a dream Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles, making it two wins out of two outings on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Frenchman once again teamed up with 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell in the last of the afternoon foursomes.

And once again they emerged victorious, trumping the previously unbeaten pairing of Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker by 5 and 4.

The previous day, they walloped Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, who were 4-0 in Ryder Cup play prior to that, by 3 and 2.

The two points, garnered in matches in which the European duo were underdogs, were instrumental in giving Paul McGinley’s team a commanding 10-6 lead heading into Sunday’s closing 12 singles, when Dubuisson will face former Masters champion Zach Johnson in the final pairing.

It was all a long way from this time last year, when Dubuisson was a largely unknown talent even though he had been the world amateur number one.

But his first win as a pro in Turkey late last year and a run into the final of the WGC Matchplay tournament earlier this year opened the door to Ryder Cup selection and the understated Dubuisson has certainly grabbed his chance.

McDowell, who has taken it upon himself to get to know the shy and secretive Dubuisson over the last few month, has been hugely impressed by him.

“It’s very easy to play alongside a guy who is as talented as this kid is,” the Ulsterman said.

“I didn’t really have to do much with this kid. I just had to make him relax, make him enjoy himself and just let him go.

“I’ve been very fortunate in Ryder Cups, I get to play alongside some pretty amazing partners the last couple of years.

“The last couple of Ryder Cups, I’ve had Rory McIlroy, and he isn’t too bad.

“Victor Dubuisson, I really believe he’s the next superstar coming out of Europe. Watch out for him.

“He really impressed the hell out of me the last couple days and he was a pleasure to play alongside.”

Dubuisson has intrigued the British press in the lead-up to Gleneagles — one paper dubbing him “The Greta Garbo of Golf” and another “The Coollest Frenchman since Thierry Henry.”

He struggled to communicate at his solo press conference ahead of Friday’s opening games, but immediately looked comfortable when he stepped onto a packed first tee with McDowell on Friday afternoon.

“As I said before, Graeme has been fantastic since we arrived here,” Dubuisson said after Saturday’s win.

“And yeah, in the last few months and the last four days, he has been really amazing with me.

“First Ryder Cup, I think it’s very difficult to manage the stress and being nervous right before the tee. I really tried to do the best for him the last two days.”

It remains to be seen if Dubuisson can sign off with a win on Sunday to make it a perfect three out of three.

Already he has the best Ryder Cup record of any Frenchman. In 1999 Jean Van de Velde only played in the singles and he lost that and in 2004, Thomas Levet won one and lost two.

There were more words of praise for Dubuisson from US captain Tom Watson who watched part of his game on Saturday afternoon.

“I watched Victor Dubuisson play some just wonderful golf today, and congratulated G-Mac (McDowell) on the 14th hole when they won their match 5 and 4.

“I said, “Congratulations.” He said, “I didn’t do anything.” That’s what you have, when you have a great partner like that.”

Continue reading – 

Dubuisson in Dreamland at Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup isn’t over yet warns Europe’s McGinley

Gleneagles (United Kingdom) (AFP) – No complacency, keep the momentum going and just get the job done. That was the order of the day from Europe skipper Paul McGinley after watching his team go 10-6 clear of the United States in the Ryder Cup on Saturday.

The unprecedented 7-1 scoreline in the two foursomes sessions means that it would take a record-equalling comeback from the Americans if they are to regain the Cup for the first time since 2008.

But a comeback from 10-6 down has been achieved twice before — and both occasions are still fresh in the mind.

The Americans did it on home turf in 1999 at Brookline, and the Europeans did it two years ago at Medinah outside Chicago — on both occasions the final score was 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

“Four-point lead going into the last round is great. But obviously the big word is complacency. The big word is not conceding momentum — there are two words,” McGinley said.

“And just being on it tomorrow, that’s the most important thing. This job is far from finished. We’re in great position, but we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”

McGinley’s words were echoed by his players, seven of whom were in the team that reeled in the Americans two years ago.

World number one Rory McIlroy, for one, said that it would be wrong to underestimate the resolve of a US team that contains six winners of major titles and such an experienced captain as eight-time major winner Tom Watson.

“We have a lot of momentum on our side. But at the same time, we just need to cast our minds back to two years ago when we were in a similar position to the US team,” he said.

“There can’t be any complacency on our side. It’s going to be a tough battle. We know the US team are going to come out strong and we need to focus and get the job done and try and win the session tomorrow.”

– Crucial Rose putt –

There were more comparisons with what happened at Medinah coming from Graeme McDowell, who said that the halve-saving six-footer from Justin Rose in the last of the foursomes to finish could prove to be crucial.

Apart from making the US task all the more difficult, it gave a final flourish to the European day, whilst two years ago at Medinah it was Ian Poulter’s five closing birdies to win the closing fourballs that boosted European morale.

“That’s what happened to us at Medinah two years ago when Rory and Mr. Ryder Cup there (Poulter) did their thing coming down the stretch when Poults birdied the last five,” he said.

“Despite the fact that we were in a hole, it elevated the whole team.

“We took some momentum and some kind of level of belief into the locker room and it kind of filtered through all 12 players, and there was a level of belief that was in the room that was not there the evening before, even though we were in much worse shape going into Sunday than we were going into Saturday.

“That’s why that putt for Justin was so huge, because it gave them nothing to take away this evening.

“But we’re under no illusions, they’ll come out all guns blazing tomorrow morning, like they did this morning.”

As holders, Europe will retain the Ryder Cup if they reach 14 points. The Americans need to get 14 1/2 points to regain it

Original source:

Ryder Cup isn’t over yet warns Europe’s McGinley

Europe seizes command over Americans at Ryder Cup

Gleneagles (United Kingdom) (AFP) – European golfers tightened their grip on the Ryder Cup, stretching their lead over the United States to 10-6 after Saturday’s foursomes and fourball matches at Gleneagles.

Holders Europe outscored the US side 3 1/2 to 1 1/2 in afternoon foursomes for the second day in a row, the final blow a six-foot birdie putt by Justin Rose allowing him and Martin Kaymer to halve with unbeaten US rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.

It left Tom Watson’s American squad needing to match the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to take the trophy.

“The way I see it we still have some work to do,” Rose said. “The finish line is nowhere near yet.”

The US team must swipe 8 1/2 points from Sunday’s 12 concluding singles matches to reach 14 1/2 and win for the first time in Europe since 1993.

Europe need only 14 points to keep the trophy and are in a strong position to win for the sixth time in seven tries and eighth time in the past 10 Cups.

But both sides are mindful the deficit can be overcome. Europe rallied on the last day from 10-6 down in 2012 in the Miracle at Medinah for a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 triumph, matching the record victory comeback famously staged by the US squad at Brookline in 1999.

– Good position –

“We’re obviously in a good position,” said world number one Rory McIlroy. “But we all remember what happened two years ago. No complacency on our side.

“We have to go out there tomorrow and get the job done.”

The Americans lead the all-time rivalry 25-12 with two halved.

A two-foot par putt miss by Reed at 16 squared the pivotal match but a bogey at 17 ended Europe dreams of an unpecedented foursomes sweep.

Rose found a bunker at 18 but Kaymer blasted out to six feet and Rose made the putt to stay undefeated after three earlier pairs wins.

England’s Lee Westwood and Welshman Jamie Donaldson took the first afternoon foursomes point, beating Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar 2 and 1.

Graeme McDowell and French rookie Victor Dubuisson beat Americans Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker 5 and 4. The US duo had halved three prior matches but Fowler remained winless in Cup play.

McIlroy, the reigning British Open and PGA Championship champion, and Sergio Garcia followed with a 3 and 2 triumph over Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan.

– Epic shotmaking –

Electrifying early foursomes matches set an epic shotmaking tone, with Rose and Henrik Stenson combining for a Cup-match record 12 birdies, including closing with 10 in a row, to defeat Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson 3 and 2.

“It is amazing,” Rose said. “I really got into reading the greens well and I just had the feeling of anticipation of what it was going to feel like to make putts. When you get into that mind-set, and you just see the ball going in the hole and you get those positive vibes, today was a day it all happened for me.”

The combined 21 birdies by both duos was also a Cup record.

Rose and Sweden’s Stenson, who sat out the later session with a tight back, each had five birdies in the closing run, the Englishman making seven in all.

“That was something special,” Stenson said. “It might be a highlight to put on the big screen with the grandkids one day.”

Kuchar birdied the sixth hole to give the US duo a 2-up lead. Then came the 10-birdie run, which ended when Rose chipped from the rough at the par-5 16th.

“What a team,” Kuchar said. “It was impressive what they were doing, just birdie after birdie. Ten in a row. Awfully tough to beat that.”

And Ian Poulter, the hero of Europe’s 2012 fightback victory at Medinah, awoke late to join Rory McIlroy in halving with Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

“That halved match was huge for us,” Europe captain Paul McGinley said.

Poulter pitched in for a birdie to halve the 15th and made a birdie putt to win the 16th and square the match, the captain’s pick re-energized to his chest-thumping, arm-pumping peak after struggling early.

“Funny things happen, don’t they? Late delivery. Second-class post,” Poulter said. “A time where we needed something to happen. Looking like that match is going to go 2-up and then obviously holing that and turning one over on the next hole makes a massive difference.”

McIlroy followed at 18 with a chip from deep rough to within inches of the cup for birdie and Fowler missed a long eagle putt to leave them deadlocked.

“As soon as he chipped in, I was like, ‘Here we go again,'” McIlroy said. “We held strong out there.”

The result blunted a US fightback that saw Furyk and Mahan beat Donaldson and Westwood 4 and 3 while Spieth and Reed downed Kaymer and Thomas Bjorn 5 and 3.

Read article here:  

Europe seizes command over Americans at Ryder Cup

Rivalry, friendship on and off course make Ryder Cup so special

By Paul Ingrassia

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) – “So who are you rooting for?”.

It is a question Rich Hendrickon, of Seattle, Wash., gets asked frequently as he roams the grounds of Gleneagles at the Ryder Cup.

The question is a joke as even a passing glance at Hendrickson will suggest. He is dressed head-to-toe in an American flag outfit, signaling his loyalties about as subtly as a sign on Times Square.

Other Americans are here in garb that seems deliberately sacrilegious: American-flag kilts. Not to be outdone, dozens of Europeans are sporting neck-to-ankle outfits in their colors, deep blue and gold.

For Americans, like me, it is not easy to enjoy the biennial Ryder Cup showdown between the United States and Europe. America have won only once in this century, in 2008, and have not prevailed on European soil for more than 20 years.

But no matter. The Ryder Cup is my favorite international sporting event, hands down, partly because it is okay for adults to act like kids again and be ostentatiously silly. Garish garb is only part of the picture.

A group of British former university chums, calling themselves Guardians of the Ryder Cup, greeted each European player at Friday’s first tee with a personalized serenade — “Bjorn v the USA” for Dane Thomas Bjorn, and a simple foot-stomping chant of “Rory, Rory,” for Northern Ireland’s world number one Rory McIlroy.

Twelve visiting fans from the Minneapolis area are doing their best to redress the balance. Dressed in Minnesota Vikings NFL jerseys with viking helmets complete with golden pony tails, they have serenaded the U.S. team with their own customized songs.

At the 2012 Ryder Cup in Chicago, America suffered a humiliating meltdown on the last day. But that did not squelch the signature American cheer for Bubba Watson: “Give me a B. Give me an ‘ubba.’ What does it spell? “Bubba!”

Watson, hugely popular with both sets of fans, summed up the spirit of the competition, on and off the course, when asked on Saturday if his relatively poor record stemmed from having too good a time with his opponents.

“I don’t want to play golf if I have to be mean to anybody” he said.

“These are good friends of mine. If they beat me, they beat me – and you are watching great golf.”

This year’s soccer World Cup in Brazil also featured creative cheering and silly costumes. But there were also darker moments, including the occasional street riot and the incident when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit an opponent. At the Ryder Cup, “bite” means an approach shot staying on the green, not Rory munching on Bubba.

UNUSUAL COMBINATION

The Ryder Cup storyline also involves an unusual combination of plots and subplots — national, team and personal. Does something in the American character impair its performance in team golf? Will England’s Ian Poulter, the hero of Europe’s 2012 miracle comeback, rise to the Ryder Cup despite having a lousy 2014 season? How will the absence of the injured Tiger Woods affect the American team?

How about Scotland’s unlikely love for American team captain Tom Watson, who won four Open championships on Scottish courses? And will the youngest Ryder Cup pairing in history, 21-year old American Jordan Spieth and his playing partner Patrick Reed, 24, stand up against battle-savvy opponents? (They did well the first two days, winning two matches and halving one.)

Finally, the Ryder Cup packs plenty of ebb-and-flow drama into a compact three days — less time than baseball’s World Series or the Olympic Games. The momentum usually shifts back and forth, often dramatically, in individual matches and on the team level and the competition is littered with tales of stirring comebacks.

America posted a strong start on Friday morning, only to falter in the later matches. Then the U.S. hinted at a potential comeback on Saturday but were routed in the afternoon.

Entering Sunday’s singles matches, Europe lead 10-6, the same commanding advantage the Americans had two years ago before their final-round collapse.

There are, to be sure, off-putting aspects to the Ryder Cup. Sometimes the cheering brushes the boundary between ardent and xenophobic. Mega-money commercialism is rampant (even though the players don’t get paid), as in other big-time sports events. And viewing conditions for many of the 45,000 fans trying to follow only four matches at a time can also be difficult.

But this year’s Ryder Cup seems a much-needed tonic for golf-crazed Scotland, barely a week after the divisive referendum in which it voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

And there is another, more personal reason, why it is my favorite sporting event.

I am attending this year, as in 2012, with my son Charlie, a young attorney from Chicago. Between the two of us, father and son, we have survived five separate bouts of cancer — the odds against which were enormous. If we can beat those odds, maybe there’s hope for America yet.

Paul Ingrassia is managing editor of Reuters.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Taken from: 

Rivalry, friendship on and off course make Ryder Cup so special

WITNESS-Golf-Rivalry, friendship on and off course make Ryder Cup so special

By Paul Ingrassia

GLENEAGLES, Scotland, Sept 27 (Reuters) – “So who are you rooting for?”.

It is a question Rich Hendrickon, of Seattle, Wash., gets asked frequently as he roams the grounds of Gleneagles at the Ryder Cup.

The question is a joke as even a passing glance at Hendrickson will suggest. He is dressed head-to-toe in an American flag outfit, signalling his loyalties about as subtly as a sign on Times Square.

Other Americans are here in garb that seems deliberately sacrilegious: American-flag kilts. Not to be outdone, dozens of Europeans are sporting neck-to-ankle outfits in their colours, deep blue and gold.

For Americans, like me, it is not easy to enjoy the biennial Ryder Cup showdown between the United States and Europe. America have won only once in this century, in 2008, and have not prevailed on European soil for more than 20 years.

But no matter. The Ryder Cup is my favourite international sporting event, hands down, partly because it is okay for adults to act like kids again and be ostentatiously silly. Garish garb is only part of the picture.

A group of British former university chums, calling themselves Guardians of the Ryder Cup, greeted each European player at Friday’s first tee with a personalized serenade — “Bjorn v the USA” for Dane Thomas Bjorn, and a simple foot-stomping chant of “Rory, Rory,” for Northern Ireland’s world number one Rory McIlroy.

Twelve visiting fans from the Minneapolis area are doing their best to redress the balance. Dressed in Minnesota Vikings NFL jerseys with viking helmets complete with golden pony tails, they have serenaded the U.S. team with their own customised songs.

At the 2012 Ryder Cup in Chicago, America suffered a humiliating meltdown on the last day. But that did not squelch the signature American cheer for Bubba Watson: “Give me a B. Give me an ‘ubba.’ What does it spell? “Bubba!”

Watson, hugely popular with both sets of fans, summed up the spirit of the competition, on and off the course, when asked on Saturday if his relatively poor record stemmed from having too good a time with his opponents.

“I don’t want to play golf if I have to be mean to anybody” he said.

“These are good friends of mine. If they beat me, they beat me – and you are watching great golf.”

This year’s soccer World Cup in Brazil also featured creative cheering and silly costumes. But there were also darker moments, including the occasional street riot and the incident when Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit an opponent. At the Ryder Cup, “bite” means an approach shot staying on the green, not Rory munching on Bubba.

UNUSUAL COMBINATION

The Ryder Cup storyline also involves an unusual combination of plots and subplots — national, team and personal. Does something in the American character impair its performance in team golf? Will England’s Ian Poulter, the hero of Europe’s 2012 miracle comeback, rise to the Ryder Cup despite having a lousy 2014 season? How will the absence of the injured Tiger Woods affect the American team?

How about Scotland’s unlikely love for American team captain Tom Watson, who won four Open championships on Scottish courses? And will the youngest Ryder Cup pairing in history, 21-year old American Jordan Spieth and his playing partner Patrick Reed, 24, stand up against battle-savvy opponents? (They did well the first two days, winning two matches and halving one.)

Finally, the Ryder Cup packs plenty of ebb-and-flow drama into a compact three days — less time than baseball’s World Series or the Olympic Games. The momentum usually shifts back and forth, often dramatically, in individual matches and on the team level and the competition is littered with tales of stirring comebacks.

America posted a strong start on Friday morning, only to falter in the later matches. Then the U.S. hinted at a potential comeback on Saturday but were routed in the afternoon.

Entering Sunday’s singles matches, Europe lead 10-6, the same commanding advantage the Americans had two years ago before their final-round collapse.

There are, to be sure, off-putting aspects to the Ryder Cup. Sometimes the cheering brushes the boundary between ardent and xenophobic. Mega-money commercialism is rampant (even though the players don’t get paid), as in other big-time sports events. And viewing conditions for many of the 45,000 fans trying to follow only four matches at a time can also be difficult.

But this year’s Ryder Cup seems a much-needed tonic for golf-crazed Scotland, barely a week after the divisive referendum in which it voted to remain in the United Kingdom.

And there is another, more personal reason, why it is my favourite sporting event.

I am attending this year, as in 2012, with my son Charlie, a young attorney from Chicago. Between the two of us, father and son, we have survived five separate bouts of cancer — the odds against which were enormous. If we can beat those odds, maybe there’s hope for America yet.

Paul Ingrassia is managing editor of Reuters. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

Continued here – 

WITNESS-Golf-Rivalry, friendship on and off course make Ryder Cup so special

Watson counts on Cup rookies for hot US start

Gleneagles (United Kingdom) (AFP) – US captain Tom Watson is counting on unbeaten newcomers Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed for a hot start Sunday that could spark an American fightback to win the Ryder Cup.

Europe rolled to a 10-6 lead after Saturday’s foursomes and fourball matches, leaving the US squad having to match the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to win on European soil for the first time since 1993.

“You might think it’s a given the Europeans will win but I sure as hell don’t,” Watson said.

Europe rallied from 10-6 down in 2012 at Medinah to win 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 while the Americans overcame the same deficit to win by the same narrow margin in 1999 at Brookline.

“It’s disappointing, but when all is said and done it’s 10-6, and as I recall, there has been a little bit of history with 10-6 comebacks,” Watson said.

“Tomorrow is individual. Let’s see what these people, what everybody, has inside their heart.”

What’s on the scoreboard has Watson turning to Spieth and Reed, who have two wins and a halved foursomes match together in their Cup debuts, as the first to tee off Sunday at Gleneagles.

Masters runner-up Spieth faces Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell in the first match while Reed takes on Sweden’s unbeaten Henrik Stenson in the second.

“I like their attitudes,” Watson said. “They are tough. They are fiery. I like the look in their eyes. There is no ‘deer in the headlights’ in their eyes.

“If they can turn the tide right there, it would give us a boost that the rest of the team can handle.”

A pivotal showdown of young stars will come in the third match when world number one Rory McIlroy, this year’s British Open and PGA Championship winner, takes on Rickie Fowler, who made the top five in all four majors.

Another feature attraction comes in the sixth match when reigning Masters champion Bubba Watson faces reigning US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany.

“We got to smoke them,” Watson said. “We’ve got to take them out early.

“Every player is going to have to play their guts out, play their hearts out. We are going to have to get off to a good start.

“I have a trust in my players that they can get it done.”

– Mickelson benched –

Watson benched five-time major winner Phil Mickelson and past major champions Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson on Saturday in favor of third and fourth starts for Fowler and rookie Jimmy Walker, who struggled in losing 5 and 4 to McDowell and France’s Victor Dubuisson and gave Watson regrets.

“It may have been a mistake that I put Jimmy and Rickie out four matches,” Watson said.

“When I look back on it, maybe playing the players too much would be one regret. They got a little tired. That’s certainly something I thought they could handle. Maybe I regret not understanding they couldn’t handle it.”

Mickelson will face Scotsman Stephen Gallacher while Simpson takes on 2012 European comeback sparker Ian Poulter of England and Bradley meets Welsh newcomer Jamie Donaldson.

Continued here: 

Watson counts on Cup rookies for hot US start

Meticulous McGinley reveals plans behind Europe’s points

By Mitch Phillips

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) – Paul McGinley on Saturday gave a fascinating insight into the wide-ranging thought and planning he has put into building Europe’s players and partnerships into a team now on the verge of yet another Ryder Cup victory.

McGinley has plotted since the day he was named captain 18 months ago and so far it has paid off spectacularly as Europe built a 10-6 lead on the back of successive dominant displays in foursomes, the alternate-shot format that demands teamwork.

While his American counterpart Tom Watson admitted that he overused some of his players and was left virtually arguing with Phil Mickelson after omitting the Cup veteran from both sessions on Saturday, McGinley’s key decisions seem to have paid off.

The Irishman said that he spent more time considering the personalities of his players and how they got on with each other while giving a passing nod to golfing form when making his pairings.

“Personality is a massive part,” McGinley told reporters. “Henrik (Stenson) and Justin’s (Rose) partnership came along because of personality more than golf game. There’s a particular reason why they were together.

“I think Graeme McDowell is a great guy to let Victor (Dubuisson) be Victor. I think Lee (Westwood) is a great guy to let Jamie Donaldson be himself.

“There are other guys who need a little cajoling and like to have somebody a little bit spicy on their shoulder. That’s a huge part of it, that ability to just gel, that X-factor, that relationship between two guys is important.”

McGinley has listed McDowell as his first player out for Sunday’s concluding singles at Gleneagles and revealed that he had made that decision even before he was made captain, though he kept it to himself.

FRESH AND FIRING

Part of his thinking for this week’s matches, where he has used the Northern Irishman in just two foursomes — both of them wins alongside Dubuisson — was to send him out fresh and firing on Sunday morning.

He also explained why he had spent so little time on the course at Gleneagles, again in contrast to Watson.

“I’m plotting our next move, I’m plotting the afternoon session when the morning session is going on,” he said. “The players don’t need cheerleaders, they don’t need to see the captain.

“They have very strong vice-captains with big personalities following each game. They are there for a reason. They are giving me good, honest feedback and I’m plotting the next session.”

McGinley said he had also left no stone unturned in his efforts to drive away any hint of complacency within his team.

From the midweek address by former Manchester United soccer manager Alex Ferguson to the choice of posters and slogans plastered around the team room, everything is chosen for a specific reason.

“We only have to look back two years, we were the beaten team the first two days. They were sensational the first two days,” McGinley said, referring to Medinah in 2012 when the U.S. led 10-6 heading into the singles before being defeated.

“Complacency is a massive word. It’s easy to just come off the edge. We have another huge graphic in our team room that says: ‘Passion has determined our past — attitude will determine our future.’

“Another is a huge picture of a European rock in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean. The storm arrived this morning when the Americans came at us really strongly, and we did incredibly well to get 1-1/2 points.

“Then this afternoon our wave came out, fresh guys performed and got the job done. This job is far from finished though. We’re in great position, but we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.”

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

From: 

Meticulous McGinley reveals plans behind Europe’s points

Golf-Meticulous McGinley reveals plans behind Europe’s points

By Mitch Phillips

GLENEAGLES, Scotland, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Paul McGinley on Saturday gave a fascinating insight into the wide-ranging thought and planning he has put into building Europe’s players and partnerships into a team now on the verge of yet another Ryder Cup victory.

McGinley has plotted since the day he was named captain 18 months ago and so far it has paid off spectacularly as Europe built a 10-6 lead on the back of successive dominant displays in foursomes, the alternate-shot format that demands teamwork.

While his American counterpart Tom Watson admitted that he overused some of his players and was left virtually arguing with Phil Mickelson after omitting the Cup veteran from both sessions on Saturday, McGinley’s key decisions seem to have paid off.

The Irishman said that he spent more time considering the personalities of his players and how they got on with each other while giving a passing nod to golfing form when making his pairings.

“Personality is a massive part,” McGinley told reporters. “Henrik (Stenson) and Justin’s (Rose) partnership came along because of personality more than golf game. There’s a particular reason why they were together.

“I think Graeme McDowell is a great guy to let Victor (Dubuisson) be Victor. I think Lee (Westwood) is a great guy to let Jamie Donaldson be himself.

“There are other guys who need a little cajoling and like to have somebody a little bit spicy on their shoulder. That’s a huge part of it, that ability to just gel, that X-factor, that relationship between two guys is important.”

McGinley has listed McDowell as his first player out for Sunday’s concluding singles at Gleneagles and revealed that he had made that decision even before he was made captain, though he kept it to himself.

FRESH AND FIRING

Part of his thinking for this week’s matches, where he has used the Northern Irishman in just two foursomes — both of them wins alongside Dubuisson — was to send him out fresh and firing on Sunday morning.

He also explained why he had spent so little time on the course at Gleneagles, again in contrast to Watson.

“I’m plotting our next move, I’m plotting the afternoon session when the morning session is going on,” he said. “The players don’t need cheerleaders, they don’t need to see the captain.

“They have very strong vice-captains with big personalities following each game. They are there for a reason. They are giving me good, honest feedback and I’m plotting the next session.”

McGinley said he had also left no stone unturned in his efforts to drive away any hint of complacency within his team.

From the midweek address by former Manchester United soccer manager Alex Ferguson to the choice of posters and slogans plastered around the team room, everything is chosen for a specific reason.

“We only have to look back two years, we were the beaten team the first two days. They were sensational the first two days,” McGinley said, referring to Medinah in 2012 when the U.S. led 10-6 heading into the singles before being defeated.

“Complacency is a massive word. It’s easy to just come off the edge. We have another huge graphic in our team room that says: ‘Passion has determined our past — attitude will determine our future.’

“Another is a huge picture of a European rock in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean. The storm arrived this morning when the Americans came at us really strongly, and we did incredibly well to get 1-1/2 points.

“Then this afternoon our wave came out, fresh guys performed and got the job done. This job is far from finished though. We’re in great position, but we’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow.” (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

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Golf-Meticulous McGinley reveals plans behind Europe’s points

Tearful Westwood so proud to join Ryder Cup greats

By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) – Lee Westwood was overcome with emotion after joining the Ryder Cup greats on Saturday and at the same time helping Europe claim a commanding 10-6 lead over the United States On Saturday.

The 41-year-old moved alongside Arnold Palmer in the all-time scoring list on 23 points with only Nick Faldo (25), Bernhard Langer (24), Billy Casper (23 1/2) and Colin Montgomerie (23 1/2) ahead of them.

Westwood, who is appearing in the biennial team event for the ninth successive time, was particularly proud to surpass the late Seve Ballesteros’s tally of 22 1/2 points.

“To move above Seve is something I guess you just don’t ever imagine doing,” the tearful Englishman told reporters after he and Welsh rookie Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar 2 & 1 in the afternoon foursomes.

“He’s such a legend. I’ve always said the Ryder Cup is not about individual points totals, it’s about winning the cup for Europe, but to be among names like that is obviously very satisfying.”

Ballesteros was the skipper when Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut at Valderrama, Spain in 1997.

“l think he captained like he played, very flamboyant, very unpredictable,” said the former world number one who has had a lean season and only earned a place in Europe’s team this year as a wildcard selection.

“You just remember him wanting to do everything himself. Basically, he would grab the club out of your hand and want to play the shot, that was his passion for the game and passion for the Ryder Cup.

“I was very lucky at Valderrama,” added Westwood. “I sat in the team room looking around and Seve was the captain, Nick Faldo was my partner, Bernhard Langer was in there, Ian Woosnam, Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

“They were people I’d grown up idolizing and suddenly I was 23 or 24 and sat in a room with my heroes. Seve was the greatest because without no disrespect to the others he’s probably the most charismatic player there’s ever been.”

McGinley, who has been completely vindicated in picking Westwood as a wildcard, paid tribute to the Englishman after he and Donaldson won their second consecutive foursomes match of the week.

“We have been very lucky to have some wonderful partnerships,” said the Irishman. “We have a partnership in Jamie and Lee that has been very strong and one in Victor (Dubuisson) and Graeme (McDowell).

“I’m very fortunate as a captain to have two guys in Lee and Graeme to play that senior role. It’s a very, very difficult thing to do in a Ryder Cup and not many players in history have ever done it.

“We have all seen with Lee what he’s done in the past, with Nicolas Colsaerts, in particular, when he had 10 birdies in his first match two years ago with Lee on his shoulder.

“That’s no coincidence. Lee was very much part of that and one of the reasons he was a pick here.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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Tearful Westwood so proud to join Ryder Cup greats

Golf-Tearful Westwood so proud to join Ryder Cup greats

By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES, Scotland, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Lee Westwood was overcome with emotion after joining the Ryder Cup greats on Saturday and at the same time helping Europe claim a commanding 10-6 lead over the United States On Saturday.

The 41-year-old moved alongside Arnold Palmer in the all-time scoring list on 23 points with only Nick Faldo (25), Bernhard Langer (24), Billy Casper (23 1/2) and Colin Montgomerie (23 1/2) ahead of them.

Westwood, who is appearing in the biennial team event for the ninth successive time, was particularly proud to surpass the late Seve Ballesteros’s tally of 22 1/2 points.

“To move above Seve is something I guess you just don’t ever imagine doing,” the tearful Englishman told reporters after he and Welsh rookie Jamie Donaldson beat Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar 2 & 1 in the afternoon foursomes.

“He’s such a legend. I’ve always said the Ryder Cup is not about individual points totals, it’s about winning the cup for Europe, but to be among names like that is obviously very satisfying.”

Ballesteros was the skipper when Westwood made his Ryder Cup debut at Valderrama, Spain in 1997.

“l think he captained like he played, very flamboyant, very unpredictable,” said the former world number one who has had a lean season and only earned a place in Europe’s team this year as a wildcard selection.

“You just remember him wanting to do everything himself. Basically, he would grab the club out of your hand and want to play the shot, that was his passion for the game and passion for the Ryder Cup.

“I was very lucky at Valderrama,” added Westwood. “I sat in the team room looking around and Seve was the captain, Nick Faldo was my partner, Bernhard Langer was in there, Ian Woosnam, Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal.

“They were people I’d grown up idolising and suddenly I was 23 or 24 and sat in a room with my heroes. Seve was the greatest because without no disrespect to the others he’s probably the most charismatic player there’s ever been.”

McGinley, who has been completely vindicated in picking Westwood as a wildcard, paid tribute to the Englishman after he and Donaldson won their second consecutive foursomes match of the week.

“We have been very lucky to have some wonderful partnerships,” said the Irishman. “We have a partnership in Jamie and Lee that has been very strong and one in Victor (Dubuisson) and Graeme (McDowell).

“I’m very fortunate as a captain to have two guys in Lee and Graeme to play that senior role. It’s a very, very difficult thing to do in a Ryder Cup and not many players in history have ever done it.

“We have all seen with Lee what he’s done in the past, with Nicolas Colsaerts, in particular, when he had 10 birdies in his first match two years ago with Lee on his shoulder.

“That’s no coincidence. Lee was very much part of that and one of the reasons he was a pick here.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)

Continued here:

Golf-Tearful Westwood so proud to join Ryder Cup greats

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