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'He didn't just bring me in and have these big, long, heart-wrenching Braveheart speeches'

Paul McGinley is this week’s guest on The42′s How To Win At Dominoes podcast.

paul-mcginley-ryder-cup Paul McGinley celebrates after the 2002 Ryder Cup with Bob and June Torrance, parents of winning captain Sam. Source: PA

THIS WEEK’S GUEST on How To Win At Dominoes, The42‘s coaching podcast, is a Ryder Cup winner as both a player and captain.

Paul McGinley chats to presenter Shane Keegan and it was no surprise that the biennial competition between Europe and USA cropped up in the conversation.

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In 2002 McGinley made his bow in the Ryder Cup and he revealed how the captaincy of Sam Torrance at that event had a major impact on him.

“A large time people make the mistake of it’s too much about the team. For me the individual comes first. Where I learned this myself was my experience 2002, my first Ryder Cup. Going into it not playing very well, I was off form. But the way that Sam Torrance captained me was very different to how he captained everyone else.

“How he built me up and how he understood me, how he spent 12 months getting to know me as an individual. He was the one who brought me from not particularly relishing going into that Ryder Cup to ending up holing the winning putt because he managed me so well.

“He managed me as an individual. He didn’t just bring me in and have these big, long, heart-wrenching Braveheart speeches for ten minutes. That wasn’t me. I needed to be cajoled and pushed and talked to in a different way. That’s why I think he did a great job. I took that and evolved it over the years.”

paul-mcginley-celebrates Paul McGinley celebrates with vice-captain Ian Woosnam as captain Sam Torrance celebrates after the 2002 Ryder Cup Source: Getty Images/INPHO

McGinley also spoke glowingly about the early influence of Gordon Severson, his coach when he was in university at San Diego.

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“He saw my ambition, he saw my competitiveness, he saw my desire to be good and what he was able to do was channel me in that direction constanty. Every time I wanted to go into fixing my technique or fixing this, he would take me and put me back into the simplicity of just being a competitor and figuring out my own game.

“There’s genius in that. I’ve so many lucky things that happened to me in my life and one of them was him. He had that sense of not making it complicated, of working to your strengths. There was tough love, there’s no doubt, he was one of the toughest men I ever met but there was an element of fun always, there was always a wisecrack, even when you were on your lowest.

“He was a big influence on my career. A great man.”

paul-mcginley-and-rory-mcilroy Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy at the 2014 Ryder Cup Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

When he returned from the USA, McGinley came under the guidance of the renowned coach Bob Torrance, father of Sam, and explored the difference in how he and Padraig Harrington were influenced.

“It was more evolution, a little bit more technical. With Padraig, this is where great coaching comes in. I was coached in that way of keep pushing me down, whereas Padraig was coached in a very different way because Padraig has such an analytical mind and wanted to radically change his technique which is a very difficult and ambitious thing to do.”

“That’s where great coaches come in. You can’t treat everybody the same. I brought that into the team room when I was captain of the Ryder Cup. My team meetings were no more than 10 minutes. There’s only so much you can say to Rory McIlroy, who was the best player in the world, to Stephen Gallacher, who was last man into the team, that’s going to apply to everybody in that team room. Most of my management was done on a one to one basis. That’s the real secret I think to great coaching, is that ability to understand the team and the players in that team.”

You can get access to this and other member-only podcasts like Behind The Lines: the sportswriting podcast by joining The42. 

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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