Earlier this month, the 2015 US PGA champion told reporters ahead of the SBS Tournament of Champions in Hawaii that he ‘didn’t care much’ about speeding up – adding that he had to get back to what made him good.
Along with many others in the game, including Day’s fellow PGA Tour pros Brandt Snedeker and Billy Horschel, the comments drew surprise from McGinley, who says Day must now be prepared to deal with the extra scrutiny.
“He’s now put a huge amount of attention on himself and I don’t think that’s going to improve his golf,” the 2014 European Ryder Cup captain told bunkered.co.uk before jetting off to the Middle East for the Abu Dhabi Invitational.
“Everybody knows now that he’s a slow player – his fellow players, the crowd, TV commentators, while the referees know that he’s not going to quicken up and that’s going to put him under pressure throughout the year.”
McGinley says a large part of golf’s slow play problem is rooted in technological advancements, resulting in longer courses being built and set-ups on existing courses being made much tougher.
“Technology has moved in a direction where it is a lot easier, certainly for the professionals, to play and as a result you’re not seeing a huge difference between the No.1 and No.50 ranked players compared to ten or 15 years ago.
“I’m not against technology – but I’d rather see it benefit amateurs. They don’t get the improvement through technology that the professionals do.
“I’d like to see an adjustment focusing more on game improvement where mishits will improve and the ball won’t curve as much. There’s a big focus on the performance for professionals and an obsession with distance, when really it should be about making amateurs better.”
As a past Ryder Cup captain, McGinley was integral in helping devise the European Tour membership regulations for the 2018 match in Paris, speaking regularly with chief executive Keith Pelley and captain Thomas Bjorn (above) before the announcement was made last week.
Unsurprisingly, he believes the changes will give Europe the best possible chance of winning back the trophy and says it leaves little sympathy for US-based players should they opt not to take up membership.
“It will give us a very much in-form team going into the Ryder Cup,” added McGinley. “I think lowering the amount of tournaments to play in from five to four is a great olive branch to the US-based players like Jon Rahm, Russell Knox (below) and Paul Casey.
“It will be a surprise and a huge disappointment [if US-based players don’t now take up European Tour membership]. It’s important for the players to connect back to their roots in Europe and, if they end up qualifying for the Ryder Cup, it would be huge for their careers.”
Paul McGinley will be starring at The Abu Dhabi Invitational at Yas Links on January 29 #Unforgettable.