GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - Such was the meticulous attention to every detail during Paul McGinley’s victorious campaign as European Ryder Cup captain, the Irishman even made careful plans for the fish tank in the team room.
“Everything in the room was planned, from the carpet to the wallpapers to the images on the wall, to a big fish tank with (European) blue and gold fish,” the smiling Irishman told a news conference on Monday.
“It was the colors I was interested in rather than the breed. It was just a little, small touch,” McGinley said.
”We had two rooms, a dining area and a lounge area. There was a big picture in the corner of John Jacobs, the first European captain, a big picture of the first Britain and Ireland team in 1927 and big pictures of Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.
“We had a lot of different images around the team room. It was my idea for the fish tank and it worked great.”
McGinley, still on a high after Europe won the biennial team event for the eighth time in 10 editions with a 16 1/2 points to 11 1/2 victory over the U.S. on Sunday, said the fish might be a bit worse for wear the morning after the night before.
”The fish are still there, swimming away, very happy, but they might have a few hangovers,“ he laughed. ”A bit of wine may have been spilt into them.
“There have been a number of requests for images from the room and maybe we’ll do a little portfolio and exhibit it... and maybe the fish can come and be a part of that.”
McGinley then turned his attentions to the much-maligned American effort and he may have been swimming against the tide of popular opinion when he said there was no danger of the Ryder Cup getting too one-sided.
“We all know how proud the Americans are of their country and they will galvanize themselves. Commercially this Ryder Cup is going in one direction,” he said, pointing upwards with his finger.
”The increasing size of the media room, the viewing figures of the amount of people watching it throughout the world, is going up and up. There is no valid reason to think it is on the decline because we are winning.
“If you saw some of the American players backstage at the closing ceremony last night, there were tears in their eyes. This was tough for them, it really hurt,” said McGinley.
“They will come back very strong in two years’ time and we have to be ready for that. That’s what makes the Ryder Cup great -- don’t under-estimate the Americans.”
Alex Ferguson was an integral part of the European team room throughout the week and McGinley seemed to inherit the record-breaking former Manchester United manager’s famous attention to detail with all of his plans.
Another example of the European captain’s strategy was to gerrymander the groupings of regular tour events in order to make sure Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson were able to form the bond that stood them in such good stead at Gleneagles.
The experienced Northern Irishman guided the young French rookie through the week, the pair combining for two successive wins in the foursomes, and it was a combination that McGinley always had in mind.
“I controlled the draws on the European Tour during the summer and every time Graeme played, he played with Victor,” revealed McGinley.
”They didn’t know what I was planning but I had planned for them to be partners. I had identified Graeme in a senior role.
”Not many guys are able to pull that role off -- Seve was able to and Olazabal too. Lee Westwood was on the shoulder of Nicolas Colsaerts when he made 10 birdies in one match in 2012.
“It was no coincidence Lee was on his shoulder. I had three rookies in this team and I needed senior guys in there to sit on their shoulders and that’s what Graeme and Lee did this week.”
Editing by Ed Osmond