European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley has urged the home crowd at Gleneagles to roar his players to victory at next week’s Ryder Cup.
Speaking ahead of the Wales Open, the three-time Ryder Cup winner explained how a strong backing outside the ropes help him to win the trophy as a player, particularly on his debut at the Belfrey in 2002.
“I have always enjoyed feeding off the crowd when I was a player in the Ryder Cups,” said the Irishman. “I think it's an incredible occasion, particularly playing at home where the noise level and the people pulling for you can really elevate you.
"It's like racehorses, big players like big occasions. Big racehorses, they love the big occasion." - Paul McGinley
“It certainly elevated me, particularly in the Belfry, my first Ryder Cup. Wow, I definitely rode the emotion of the crowd there and the noise from the crowd, and the tighter things got, the more security you had because the crowd was so much in my favour and were so vociferous when I holed a good putt or hit a good shot. Incredibly passionate."
Paul McGinley has never lost a Ryder Cup, winning in 2002, 2004 and 2006 on home soil at the K Club. With all his experience on the biggest stage he believes his European Team will thrive as the atmosphere heats up and cheers grow louder.
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“I know that the players are looking forward ,” said the 47-year-old. “It's like racehorses, big players like big occasions. Big racehorses, they love the big occasion, and it's the same with golfers.”
“I think if it is a very noisy Ryder Cup and the crowd can play a big part in hopefully elevating the players to a new level and hopefully perform better.”
McIlroy McDowell dispute not a problem for Paul McGinley
Irish pair Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy have played together six times in the last two contests. However, this time around, doubts over the strength of their relationship have been cast following an ongoing court battle over management issues.
Despite that, McGinley maintains the two are likely to partner each other at Gleneagles, dispute the rift, but that decision is subject to change.
"I'm not going to write it in stone." - Paul McGinley
“Both of them have assured me it's not going to affect anything going on behind the scenes,” said the captain. “Where I go now in terms of strategy and all that kind of thing is up for me to decide on what we are going to do.
“I'll be very surprised if they don't play together. But I'm not going to write it in stone. It is something I'll make decisions over in the next few days.”