Solheim glory fuels McGinley’s faith in youth

Frank Dalleres
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RYDER Cup captain Paul McGinley insists he is happy to have rookies on his team for next year’s contest with America and has pointed to Europe’s glorious recent Solheim Cup triumph as proof it can work.

Players start accumulating points towards qualification for the next intercontinental showdown at Gleneagles from today, when play gets underway at the ISPS Handa Wales Open at Celtic Manor.

Italian Francesco Molinari is the only man from the class of 2012 taking part, handing a youthful field the chance to steal a march on their more decorated rivals in front of skipper McGinley.

Europe’s women boasted six rookies, including 17-year-old English star Charley Hull, when they routed the US 18-10 earlier this month – evidence, the Irishman believes, that the next generation is brimming with talent.

If you’re a bookie, you would back the fact that there will be some rookies in the team. Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three; we don’t know yet,” said McGinley, who will also be playing this week.

“And if they play well enough to qualify for the team or play well enough to qualify for one of the picks, I’ll certainly be delighted to have them on the team.

“I’m not afraid – as we have seen in the Solheim Cup – of having rookies on the team. Rookies nowadays are very different from when I started on Tour 20 years ago.”

McGinley also cited last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship, in which English 22-year-old Tommy Fleetwood pipped Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher while Europe’s big guns were contesting the Barclays in America, as further proof of the depth of talent at his disposal.

“You saw last week, the quality of golf on the European Tour now is phenomenal, and there are a lot of young players ready to step up to Ryder Cup standard,” he added.

“This is a great opportunity for them, not just this week and last week, but going forward for the next nine or 12 months.”