McGinley's modest playing record, and his overall standing in the
sport, cannot compare to that of eight-times major winner Watson.
But Price, who caused a major shock by beating Phil Mickelson in the
last-day singles in the 2002 edition at The Belfry, has been so
impressed with the genial Irishman that he believes he could turn
into an inspired selection as skipper.
"I initially felt there might be an awe factor, I felt it was not a
good matchup," Price told Reuters in an interview. "I think he's
been fantastic though.
"I've listened to him a lot on TV and he's come across so well. He's
very thoughtful, he seems to have thought about the Ryder Cup an
awful lot and every question that's thrown at him, he's always got a
Four-times European Tour winner McGinley holed the putt that won the
Ryder Cup in 2002 but Price says next month's matches against the
Americans at Gleneagles in Scotland could end up defining his
"I think this is his major and he's planned really well," explained
"This is it for him. I can imagine he's going to be more prepared
than any captain there's ever been.
"One of my former caddies has been working for him and he says no
stone has been left unturned in terms of preparation.
"I get the feeling he's thought about this for a long time and is
ready for every angle, the pairings, the weather, the preparation."
Price, who has won three times and is still an active player on the
circuit, said a meeting at Tour headquarters at Wentworth early in
the captaincy selection process should have told him all he needed
to know about McGinley's popularity.
"When the tour players were here for a meeting to talk about picking
the next captain I was stunned by how many wanted him," he added.
"They've twice seen him working as a Seve Trophy captain, and as a
Ryder Cup vice-captain, and they were all pushing for him. The
players were talking about him and Colin Montgomerie and the amount
of support for Paul was astonishing.
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"Monty wasn't ever in the reckoning. The team also seem to hold him in
very high regard," said Price who was talking to Reuters at Tony
Jacklin's Wentworth Charity Invitational golf event in aid of Rainbows
Hospice for Children and Young People (www.rainbows.co.uk).
"When he was eventually picked as captain all the players from the team
had been phoning and tweeting their support for Paul."
This week's Italian Open, the final qualifying event, will determine the
automatic nine selections in Europe's team before McGinley rounds off
his 12-man lineup by announcing his three wildcard picks at Wentworth on
World number 16 Graeme McDowell is not playing this week and will be
replaced among the top nine automatic slots by Stephen Gallacher if the
Scot finishes first or second in Turin.
"I think we've got three obvious picks - Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and
Luke Donald," said Price. "But, concerningly, none of them are playing
very well, they're all struggling.
"Stephen is probably next on the list. He needs to do something this
week, or someone like Francesco Molinari needs to win, to change things.
"G-Mac is an automatic pick and Steve has to deliver something this
week. If he finishes in the top five in Italy he may be picked because
he's got a phenomenal record at Gleneagles.
"I think Poulter will definitely get a pick and that Donald is
struggling the most. Looks to me like he's in the most trouble."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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