U.S. Ryder changes a 'shrewd' move, says Europe's McGinley

Thu Mar 5, 2015 3:21pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley said on Thursday he thought recent changes the struggling United States side has made in their approach to the premier match play team event were "shrewd" moves.

A U.S. task force set up after the Americans were thrashed by 16-1/2 points to 11-1/2 by McGinley's Europeans last year in Scotland gave more input to players and installed a system patterned after the European model to nurture future captains.

"I think it's a shrewd move," Irishman McGinley told Reuters after his address to the Leaders Sport Business Summit in New York.

"They (the U.S.) have lost eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups. If you're a business and your profits keep going down, what you would do is step back, reassess everything. Put some new things in place.

"It's the right thing to do," he said and imagined a likely dialogue. "'We're obviously making some mistakes here. We're not going to keep banging our head against the wall. These guys are doing it well, what can we learn from them?'"

McGinley said his own challenges as Ryder Cup captain were dealing with high expectations of being favorites, and allowing players to be individuals while at the same time bonding as a team.

The Irishman brought in fabled soccer manager Alex Ferguson, who had resounding success in charge of Manchester United from 1986–2013, as a sounding board in preparations to lead his 12-man team at Gleneagles.

McGinley gazed up at a photo of his jubilant players laughing, pointing skyward as they surrounded him as he held the cherished Ryder Cup, and said it gave him chills and reminded him of inspiring words from Ferguson.   Continued...

Paul McGinley pose for a group photograph with the Ryder Cup after the closing ceremony of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland September 28, 2014  REUTERS/Phil Noble