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McGinley VS Watson: Ryder Cup captains outline hopes for Gleneagles
Ryder Cup rivals Paul McGinley and Tom Watson have been outlining their visions for next week’s unmissable clash at Gleneagles – and they couldn’t be more different.
While Europe’s skipper McGinley has been trying to rally support by asking for the “noisiest” Ryder Cup ever held at Gleneagles, his opposite number Watson is looking forward to his players sending those same raucous European fans home early and with long faces.
"What I'm looking for is an environment that's going to elevate the players to play to a different level," McGinley is quoted as saying at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
"I have always enjoyed feeding off the crowd when I was a player in the Ryder Cup and I think it's an incredible occasion, particularly playing at home, where the noise level and the people pulling for you can really elevate you.
"It certainly elevated me, particularly in The Belfry, my first Ryder Cup. I definitely rode the emotion of the crowd there and the noise from the crowd, and the tighter things got the more security you had because the crowd was so much in my favour and were so vociferous when I holed a good putt or hit a good shot, and incredibly passionate.
"I know that the players are looking forward to it. It's like racehorses, big players like big occasions. We like big occasions, big atmospheres. And I think if it is a very noisy Ryder Cup the crowd can play a big part in hopefully elevating the players to a new level and hopefully perform better."
Watson is the last man to successfully lead the United States to victory over Europe on their own patch in 1993, and would like nothing better than a repeat of that result – including the scenes which followed.
"I hope that when we come up to the 18th hole in the last match on Sunday that my friend Roy Williams, who gave me the advice about playing away games, comes true," Watson said. "And that advice is 'Watch the stands'. Watch the fans leave early and that's what happened in 1993.
"Coming up to the last hole there after Davis Love had made his putt (to beat Costantino Rocca) I ran back to be with Ray Floyd, who was in our last (vital) match. And I turned the corner at The Belfry, the dog-leg left there around the lake, and I was walking with Payne Stewart who was just whooping and hollering.
"He comes over and he slaps me on the back about as hard as he could and I almost lost my breath. And he said, 'Captain, look up there.'
"And I looked up there at the green, at the stands, which had been completely full when Davis Love made his putt, and they were over half empty."
It seems that the blood of both captains is reaching boiling point now as they each prepare their team for a battle which has all the markings of a classic. Keep checking back at OnlineGolf for updates during the Ryder Cup event, as well as the fallout from Gleneagles after the final ball has been putted.