LONDON (Reuters) - European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has said he will not be afraid to blood inexperienced youngsters in his team for next year’s contest.
The Irishman, a five-times Ryder Cup winner as player and vice-captain, will have three wildcard picks for his 12-man team, with several Ryder Cup rookies among Europe’s form players.
Italy’s Matteo Manassero, Sweden’s Jonas Blixt and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen are all ranked in the world’s top 50 and will be pushing for inclusion while Scotland’s Martin Laird and England’s Chris Wood have tour wins in 2013.
“The quality of golf on The European Tour now is phenomenal and there’s a lot of young players who are ready to step up to Ryder Cup standard,” McGinley said on the European Tour website (www.europeantour.com).
“I’m not afraid of having rookies on the team, and if those guys step up to the plate and play really well, I’ll be delighted to welcome them to the team.
“Generally, all I’m concerned about at the end of the day is having the 12 strongest players to represent Europe at this time next year.
“We had a situation a couple years ago where Alvaro Quiros won the Dubai World Championship and ended up not making the Team. So even though you may have a big win, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to make the Ryder Cup Team.
“Ultimately I’m looking for the guys who have played the best over the 12-month period and I have absolutely no hesitation about having rookies on the team or picking a rookie. Generally what I want is players who are playing the best.”
McGinley will compete this week at the Wales Open, keeping an eye on the early contenders for a place in his team for the biennial clash against the United States which is taking place in Scotland next year.
The Irishman, who has been a popular figure on previous teams, said he would be ruthless in order to help Europe win at Gleneagles for the eighth time in the last 10 Ryder Cups.
“I understand that along the journey that all captains take, some tough decisions have to be made,” McGinley added.
“Some have been made already and some will be made going forward. I’m prepared for that and I’m prepared for the fact that not everybody is going to agree with my decisions.
“I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve been involved in five of the last six Ryder Cups, and we won all five that I was involved in (three as a player, two as vice-captain). I’ve seen the template, I’ve seen what works and I just want to make that template better and roll it out again,” he said.
“I’ll meet any challenges I have head on and I understand that not everybody is going to be in agreement with the decisions that I make.”
Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ed Osmond