Paul McGinley finds words to inspire Europe
The memory of the late Seve Ballesteros helped inspire Europe to Ryder Cup glory two years ago and team skipper at Gleneagles Paul McGinley is hoping that a saying from renowned Scottish coach Bob Torrance, who died in July, can make a difference this week.
McGinley was a vice-captain at Medinah and he saw first hand how his predecessor as captain, Jose Maria Olazabal, used the Ballesteros Ryder Cup legacy to motivate his team to a famous victory.
Olazabal spoke at team meetings of his great friendship and Ryder Cup partnership with Ballesteros, who had died from a brain tumour the previous year, and the players had a silhouette of the feisty Spaniard emblazoned on their bags.
This week, McGinley has posted inside the team locker room ahead of the showdown with the Americans a saying beloved of Torrance, his former coach and the father of vice-captain Sam Torrance.
"It`s just a simple message," McGinley said as he and rival skipper Tom Watson got proceedings going at Gleneagles on Monday with a joint press conference.
"It`s the last message they see before they leave the locker room, and it`s a quote from Bob Torrance, who unfortunately passed away a couple of months ago as we all know.
"He used to say to every player on the range as we talked before the first tee, he would shake your hand and say, `Happiest days of your lives.`
"And that`s the quote, that`s the last thing they will see as they leave the locker room."
Watson has said that above all else he sees the desire for redemption for what happened on the final day at Medinah, when Europe won eight of the 12 singles to record a come-from-behind win, as the main driving force behind his team.
But McGinley too believes that there were powerful lessons for the Europeans to take on board from that memorable showdown in the Chicago suburbs.
Above all else, he noted how Olazabal rallied his men as they seemed headed for a lop-sided defeat after the opening fourballs and foursomes skirmishes.
"As a team collectively, we learned a lot, and I was very fortunate to be part of the backroom team there," he said. "It was a big learning curve for us in a lot of ways.
"We were really getting a wallop the first two days and that was the first time I was in that situation. I learned a lot from José Maria, the decisions he made and the structures he put in place, to give us the best chance of getting out of the hole that we were in.
"So it was a big learning curve for us, and looking back on it now, it was a great experience."
Otherwise, McGinley said he had no intention of tinkering too much with the formula that has seen Europe dominate the Ryder Cup for the last 20 years with seven wins in the last nine editions.
"I see my role as following the template and what we`ve been doing in so many Ryder Cups now," McGinley said.
"I kind of see what goes on behind the scenes, and I certainly don`t want to change that template that`s been successful.
"I see my job as enhancing that template and trying to make it a bit better and rolling it out again."