• Ryder Cup

England could provide team backbone - McGinley

ESPN staff
March 7, 2014
McGinley: It will be tough to pick team

Paul McGinley has hinted that English players could provide the backbone of his Ryder Cup team when Europe welcome America to Gleneagles in September.

The European captain admitted that, while picking a team is always a difficult task, the strength of England's finest golfers means they will be hard to overlook for selection.

McGinley said: "Of course it's hard, it's always hard picking the team. But I'm going to be very fair. I'm looking for form, I'm looking for experience, I'm looking for youthfulness.

"The English crop are very strong. Justin Rose is US Open Champion, and Ian Poulter - how could you mention the words Ryder Cup without the name of Ian Poulter? Lee Westwood has been a fulcrum of the team for all the success that we've had over the last decade or so.

"I think in Europe over a number of Ryder Cups, England has had the most representation. It could be the same again this time."

McGinley named Scotland's Sam Torrance and fellow Irishman Des Smyth as his first vice-captains. McGinley won the Ryder Cup as a player in 2002 under Torrance's captaincy.

"As everybody knows, Sam and I have a very close relationship," McGinley said. "We bonded very much in 2002 when Sam culminated a very successful career on the golf course with his captaincy at The Belfry. We all know that ended very well for both of us."

The trio of McGinley, Torrance and Smyth and will attempt to defend Europe's Ryder Cup title, won in extraordinary circumstances at the 'Miracle at Medinah'.

However, McGinley faces stiff competition in the form of America's Tom Watson. McGinley said: "All three of us are under no illusions how strong the American team is going to be.

"They're going to be very well led by Tom Watson and we know we're up against it. They're like a wounded animal after what happened at Medinah and they will be a highly-motivated team.

"But that's good, it's a real challenge to look forward to and it's what makes the Ryder Cup so special."

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