A LOW-SCORING week, which attracted Tom Watson’s attention on the other side of the Atlantic, has given Paul McGinley food for thought in terms of the course set-up for next year’s Ryder Cup.
A combination of the rough on the PGA Centenary Course being less penal than recent years and four days of favourable weather in Perthshire led to players shooting the lights out from start to finish in the Johnnie Walker Championship.
Pride of place went to Englishman Paul Waring as he carded a nine-under-par 63 in Friday’s second round while Scottish duo Stephen Gallacher and Scott Henry also went low with 64 and 65 respectively.
“The scoring has been incredibly good this week,” acknowledged McGinley after rounding off his own campaign in the final event on the Gleneagles layout before the match against the Americans in 13 months’ time.
“If the Europeans score as well next year, I will be delighted. I shot one-under-par yesterday and fell back about 20 spots. It is incredible scoring.
“In fact, Tom Watson text me last night to see if we have preferred lies and forward tees. It has been a good week.”
After his first round on Thursday, McGinley produced a yardage book with a sheet of notes he’d scribbled on the way round and he added: “I have really learned a lot and I have a lot of ideas.
“It is not necessarily about my ideas. I want to gather some information and views from the other players on the set-up of the golf course.
“It is a big thing to have home advantage. The captains have used it very strongly on both sides in the past and I will be no different.
“To be honest, I don’t know what the answer is in terms of set-up but it is safe to say I will be doing a lot of questioning of the players, both here and those who are not here, in terms of how they like the course set up.
“It has been great for me to see the perspective of this week, which has been good weather, firmish fairways and very little rough compared to previous years which have been heavy, soggy, preferred lies and the ball not flying high.
“I have seen both perspectives and that is one of the advantages of having a European Tour event at this golf course. I have played every one so I have a lot of information on both sides of the spectrum. It is a question of which way we want to go.”