• Ryder Cup

Form vital for wildcards - McGinley

ESPN staff
September 23, 2013
McGinley is Ireland's first Ryder Cup captain © Getty Images

European captain Paul McGinley has hinted that form will play a big part when considering his wildcard picks for the Ryder Cup.

Speaking at a special event to mark one year from the start of the biennial showdown, to be held next year at Gleneagles, the Irishman said he will be watching European Tour players very closely.

McGinley, who increased his number of captain's picks from two to three, said: "Considering so many guys are playing in so many parts of the world, it's important that I have that flexibility, should I need it.

"I'm going to be in America quite a bit next year but I'll also be playing a full European schedule so I'll see a lot of the players there. I'm going to be watching the guys playing on the European Tour very closely.

"If someone shows a lot of form on the European Tour going into the Ryder Cup, even if they're not in the top 50 in the world, I'm going to look closely at guys like that and they could possibly be a pick."

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McGinley singled out recent European Masters winner Thomas Bjorn, who played for winning Ryder Cup teams in 1997 and 2002.

He added: "Thomas is a wonderful player and the thing is that you don't have to play consecutive Ryder Cups. You can miss one or two, then come back in and play a very good Ryder Cup, which a lot of people have done in the past.

"Thomas is one and there are others too, who may have missed one or two Ryder Cups but are capable of slipping back into the team."

Opposing captain Tom Watson, meanwhile, believes his players have a point to prove.

The eight-time major champion was re-appointed having been the last US skipper to win on European soil, and he is keen to halt a run of poor form for his country in the competition.

"There's only one thought - to win," Watson said. "It's a great event, the world watches this event and the Americans have not done very well. It's on a much larger is scale since the last time I did it."

Watson is a huge fan favourite in Scotland, but is under no illusions that his team will be up against a biased European crowd at Gleneagles.

"There's no pre-tense that it'll be a partisan event, that's how it should be," he added. "I've played on teams and been captain and I know it's a partisan event. It's great playing for your country.

"That's the unique thing about the Ryder Cup, we play for ourselves all year but playing for your country is completely different."

And McGinley is anticipating a close affair.

"You're always confident, particularly when you have the quality of players we have in Europe at this time," he said.

"But we won the last two Ryder Cups by a point, and the margin between the two teams is very small.

"There's not a big difference between the teams and we know that, if we're going to win next year we're going to have to play extremely well.

"Tom is going to add a lot to the American package. He's an iconic figure in the game and a very astute, intelligent man. We're aware of what we're up against."

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