Paul McGinley, Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, has drafted in the services of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson to inspire his players ahead of their much anticipated meeting with the USA at Gleneagles.
Europe will begin the defence of the trophy they won so dramatically in Medina two years ago on Friday, and will have the wisdom of Ferguson, who lifted 13 Premier League titles with Manchester United, ringing in their ears when they tee-off.
As reported by The Guardian, McGinley had hinted in the lead up to the Ryder Cup week that he would enlist the help of prominent guest speakers ahead of the competition, and Ferguson had been a much speculated name in the frame.
Things became much clearer on Tuesday morning when Ferguson was seen strolling around the Centenary Course sporting a purple jumper, and he will address the players later in the evening once all practice for the day has been concluded.
“There’s a number of reasons [for using Ferguson],” McGinley told the press.
“Although I’m not a Manchester United fan, as everybody knows, I’m a West Ham fan, but I’ve always loved the way his teams played. And there’s a number of things that he’s dealing with that he was particularly good at that I think he’ll be a particularly strong fit.
“There’s a lot of similarities, and I’ve met him a number of times over the last few months. The more I’ve met him, the more there was just such a natural fit.”
McIlroy v McDowell
Among Europe’s 12-man team are two avid Manchester United supporters and, although Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will need no extra motivation, the prospect of being charged up by an Old Trafford icon of Ferguson’s stature will represent the stuff of dreams.
The Northern Irish pair have been able to form a formidable duo in the past two Ryder Cups, partnering each other on six occasions, although it may be that they are kept apart this year as the captain explores other options.
They were not put together in practice together on Tuesday, with McIlory teeing off with Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer while McDowell was out in the final group of the day alongside rookie Victor Dubuisson and the experienced Henrik Stenson.
The sub-text to the McIlroy-McDowell story is that these two, friends for years, have endured something of a ‘feud’ of late with a court case ongoing involving the former’s management company.
McGinley, however, says he has been assured that there are no problems, and his decision to keep them apart is based on ‘statistics’ rather than any potential issues.