McGinley warning for Irish Duo
Paul McGinley has issued a timely reminder to Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell re their wish to be Ryder Cup partners.
Paul McGinley has issued a timely reminder to Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell that however much they want to be partners at the Ryder Cup next year, they first have to make the team.
The two Northern Irishmen were impressive winners as Britain and Ireland opened a 3-2 lead over Continental Europe going into today’s second-day fourballs at the Vivendi Trophy in Paris.
“Of course they have potential,” said captain McGinley. “We know how great a potential Rory is – everybody’s spoken about it and written about it.
“Now the first thing is to obviously make the team and that’s going to be big ask for everybody concerned.”
Only nine players qualify automatically next September, then Colin Montgomerie adds three wild cards.
McGinley, delighted with the start made, also knows these are early days for the pair, who beat Dane Soren Kjeldsen and big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros 4&3.
“They have a long way to go to catch Seve (Ballesteros) and Olazabal.”
In 15 games together at the Ryder Cup the Spanish duo won 11, halved two and lost only twice.
Twenty-year-old McIlroy stated: “I hope it’s the start of a long partnership. As long as we stay fit there’s no reason why we can’t have a partnership for the next 10 years.”
McDowell, who made his debut for Europe in Louisville last year, added: “Obviously we’re great friends, but this is a chance to show we can gel on the course.
“There’s nothing I would like better than to play with him in the Ryder Cup.”
McGinley also said: “They are very, very good friends first of all. I would say their best friend on Tour is each other.
“They play practice rounds together every week, they are from the same part of the world, very similar personalities – genial guys – and very comfortable in each other’s company.
“They are leading my charge to the trophy, I always felt that the role they wanted to play, it’s the role I wanted them to play – and that’s the impression I wanted to give to everybody.”
An even bigger win on the opening day came from England’s Chris Wood and Anthony Wall, neither of whom – like McDowell – would have been playing if everybody who qualified turned up.
The two debutants crushed Ryder Cup stars Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson by a record-equalling 6&5 margin, although Karlsson was playing his first competitive round since May because of a blister behind his left retina.
Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson also won, beating Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson 3&2 just as they did in Ireland two years ago.
Dyson had suffered from food poisoning earlier in the week and said last night: “I had nothing but a slice of toast yesterday and only some cornflakes and a banana before I played.
“I was struggling at the end of it – I could feel my energy levels go drastically – but I’ll eat tonight and hopefully feel better still tomorrow.”
He and Wilson lead off against Stenson and Quiros, McGinley keeping his five pairings together but juggling the order.
That means Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher and then Robert Rock and Steve Webster are given a chance to hit back from their defeats.
DRAW FOR DAY TWO(Continental Europe names first, Britain and Ireland lead 3-2 overnight, all times BST):
1035 Henrik Stenson and Alvaro Quiros v Simon Dyson and Oliver Wilson
1050 Peter Hanson and Soren Hansen v Nick Dougherty and Ross Fisher
1105 Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari v Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy
1120 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Robert Karlsson v Robert Rock and Steve Webster
1135 Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen v Anthony Wall and Chris Wood
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