Paul McGinley has opened up on how he managed fraught relationships between team-mates Rory Mcllroy and Graeme McDowell, as well as a long-running feud between Pádraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia during his tenure as European captain at the 2014 Ryder Cup.
cGinley’s decision to name Harrington as a vice-captain for the match at Gleneagles meant he would need to work with Sergio Garcia, despite the duo being involved in a long-running personal battle.
The European captain also had to navigate a path for Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell to function in the same team at a time when the duo were suing each other over a management dispute.
Now the fractured relationship between the Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will be a talking point as they will feature in the American team at this Ryder Cup and McGinley believes the European team would be wise not to fans the flames.
“There will always be some kind of friction behind the scenes and sometimes it’s public and others that don’t get out,” said the Irishman at a Sky Sports event.
“It’s all about managing personalities and for me, transparency and respect is what being a captain is all about. We have seen situations like this in the past and it will be interesting to see how the Americans deal with that.
“They don’t need to be best friends for the week. One of the big challenges I worked around in 2014 was working out how I got guys who had be brought up to be selfish and to play for themselves to get together in a team room.
“My solution was to put them in an environment they were used to. There was no pressure to go into a team room and they only socialised together if they wanted to.
“We had team meetings, but aside from that, the players could go out with their wives, go to the cinema, go and have a meal. Do what they normally do at an event. I don’t mind.
“Whether Bryson and Brooks like each other or not doesn’t matter. I don’t think they will be playing together, but you just have to make sure the dynamic of the team is right and person feuds don’t get in the way.”
McGinley was forced to deal with a bitter row between McIlroy and McDowell back in 2014, with the Irish duo involved in legal proceedings against each other at the time of the Ryder Cup.
Yet it was resolved with some simple boundaries being put in place, as McGinley opted to keep the warring duo apart.
“There was a High Court case going on between Rory and Graeme and relations were not good between them at all,” he stated. “As a captain, it was important that I didn’t take sides and treated them both the same way.
“Obviously I didn’t put them out together in practice rounds and we resolved the situation behind closed doors.
“Phil Mickelson threw a grenade in by making a smart comment in a press conference to say at least none of their team were in litigation against each other. We didn’t respond and, in fact, it galvanised us.”
McGinley’s handling of the Harrington and Garcia was equally delicate, but their relationship has clearly thawed seven years on as the former named the latter as one of his captain’s picks for this year’s Ryder Cup.
“I wanted Pádraig as a vice-captain and spoke to Sergio about it before we announced it,” added McGinley. “I wanted to know if he would be comfortable with me naming Pádraig as part of my team and after a couple of conversations, we got to a place where it worked.
“One of the great things of the Ryder Cup is past problems can evaporate. I remember going into the team room one evening and there was Pádraig and Sergio playing table tennis against each other.
“I’d like to think that was the start of a new stage in their relationship and it has improved to where it is now, where Pádraig picked Sergio for this Ryder Cup.”
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