I’D NORMALLY try to avoid talking about individuals after a magnificent team performance such as the one Europe delivered to beat the United States and win the Ryder Cup on Sunday. But I have to pay tribute to Paul McGinley, who was an incredible captain and one of the outstanding factors in an excellent few days at Gleneagles.
Paul was brilliant from start to finish, and by that I mean not just last week but for the entire two years leading up to the contest. He was always talking to his players – for example, insisting that Jamie Donaldson played the Czech Masters last month. The Welshman duly won that tournament, snatched a place in the team and then went on to strike the beautiful iron shot that ultimately clinched Europe’s victory.
That’s just one example of how meticulous McGinley was in his captaincy. He left no stone unturned, he never let anyone be on their own the whole week and made sure the caddies felt like part of the set-up too, inviting them to sit with him, the players and us vice-captains at mealtimes. The team spirit between Europe’s players has been there for a long time, but everything McGinley did reinforced that.
Donaldson was great for me when I captained him in the Great Britain and Ireland team against Jose Maria Olazabal’s Continental Europe side a year ago and he played superb golf throughout his Ryder Cup debut. Every single man played majestically, but I have to mention Justin Rose too – I thought he played the golf of his life all week. The way he and Graeme McDowell fought back in their singles matches on Sunday snuffed out any American comeback and sent such a strong message to the rest of the team that this European line-up would not be beaten.
Rory McIlroy also helped to set the tone for the final day when he started with five birdies in six holes – that’s why he is world No1 and why he, McDowell and Rose were among the first players sent out for the singles matches.
For now, we should just enjoy the moment and not think too hard about future Ryder Cups. But Europe has won eight of the last 10 contests and I don’t see any reason why that should change at Hazeltine in 2016.
All this European dominance has got some worrying that Americans will lose interest in the competition. Well, some US golf fans might do but I can promise you the players will not. Their team were hurting very badly on Monday morning, I can assure you. You cannot take part in a Ryder Cup and not want it to be a part of your life forever. I know I’d be happy to help again in any way I can.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam