HE played a part in grooming him. Sam Torrance, after all, was Paul McGinley’s captain when the Irishman holed the winning putt at The Belfry in 2002.
According to Torrance, though, Europe’s latest Ryder Cup win – their eighth in the last ten matches – was more down to McGinley himself than any of the five captains he’s either played under or helped out as an assistant.
“I thought Paul McGinley did an exceptional job,” said Torrance, breaking off from his breakfast in the European team room in the iconic hotel at Gleneagles. “To a man, he was revered. He had absolutely everything under control from the minute we arrived here to the minute we left.
“I always said he’d be a great captain. He was magnificent. I wasn’t surprised by anything in his detail to attention because I knew everything he had planned.
“It was very kind of him to talk about my captaincy in 2002, but he had his own masterplan this week. Every little detail was beyond belief.”
Thomas Bjorn told Sergio Garcia during the event that he believed McGinley was the first in a “new wave of captains” for Europe in the event.
“He’s a thinking man,” said Torrance in taking up that thread.
“He’s meticulous and he didn’t leave a stone unturned. Bringing in Alex [Ferguson] was a masterstroke and you couldn’t fault one thing this week.”
Asked is there was anything the Americans can do differently to improve their recent dismal record in an event they once dominated, Torrance, laughing, said: “I don’t care!”
Continuing, he added: “It’s not a secret – it’s just being a team. That’s where Alex was amazing. He made a fantastic speech. It was exactly what Paul wanted.
“It wasn’t just a speech about football. It was a speech Paul wanted him to talk about. Us being favourites, for one thing.”