EUROPE’S Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, used last night’s “Year to Go” event in Perth to deliver confirmation that Scotland will provide a four-strong representation in next week’s Seve Trophy in Paris.
As predicted in The Scotsman yesterday, Stephen Gallacher, Paul Lawrie, Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson have all secured places in the ten-man Great Britain & Ireland team to be led by Sam Torrance against Continental Europe at St Nom La Breteche.
“It is the highest representation by one country in either team,” revealed McGinley of the two line-ups for the event, which is held in non-Ryder Cup years in honour of Seve Ballesteros.
McGinley, the first Irishman to lead Europe in the biennial joust against the Americans, was speaking as he shared the stage with his US counterpart Tom Watson at “An Audience With The Ryder Cup Captains” in Perth Concert Hall.
The pair, who had travelled to Gleneagles earlier in the day by steam train and will host a joint press conference at the Perthshire resort today, took part in a 40-minute Q&A session hosted by Dougie Donnelly in front of a public audience of just under 1,000.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” replied McGinley when asked about the possibility of there
being a Scottish flavour to either his side or back-room team when the event is staged in the home of golf for the first time since 1973.
“But I’ve put a Scot [Torrance] in charge of one of the Seve Trophy teams [Jose Maria Olazabal is the Continental Europe captain] and I’ve already put out a challenge to the Scottish players.
“Earlier this year, when I spoke to the Scottish media, I pointed out that when the Ryder Cup was held in Ireland [at The K Club in 2006], we provided 25 per cent of the team in Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and myself.
“Now I want to see if the Scots can do the same but, at the same time, I am wishing players from every country in Europe luck as they try and make the team.”
Watson, who received a fractionally longer round of applause when he was introduced to the audience, said he felt criticism of him set to become the oldest Ryder Cup in history – he’ll be 65 next year – was “unfair”.
“It is a fact I’m old but the other side of the coin is that I’ve been there before,” added the five-times Open champion, who led the Americans to their last victory on foreign soil in the 1993 match at The Belfry.
He revealed how he’d learn how potential members of his team handled pressure “through their caddies” and said he believed Tiger Woods could shrug off his poor Ryder Cup record to be an on-course leader in a team he reckons is likely to include rising PGA Tour star Jordan Spieth.
“As for the weather today, you’re just trying to fool me as it is never like this at the end of September,” joked Watson of a day that ended in glorious sunshine in the Fair City.