Howell disagrees with McGinley’s path to future Ryder Cup success

Bernie McGuire
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David Howell and Paul McGinley at Wentworth in 2008 - Getty Images

Tournament Players Chairman David Howell disagrees with Paul McGinley after Europe’s 2014 victorious captain called for a return of the Seve Trophy and EurAsia Trophy competition following Europe’s resounding Whistling Straits defeat.

In the aftermath of the American’s shock 10-points success, McGinley suggestedf a three-point plan to boost Europe’s hopes ahead of the 44th hosting of the biennial competition in 2023 in Rome. In short, McGinley suggested:

  • Stepping-up the quality of the European side
  • Increasing the number of ‘wildcard’ picks and
  • A return of the Seve Trophy/EurAsia Cup competition.

While McGinley’s 2014 appointment clearly surprised the Americans, his appointment in being asked to lead Europe at Gleneagles was on the back of four straight Seve Trophy successes including two as a GB & I team member and twice (2009 & 2011) as a winning non-playing captain. As well, McGinley played in two of three winning EurAsia Cup sides.

However, Howell, who also sits on the five-man committee to choose Europe’s 2023 European Ryder Cup captain, is not in agreement with McGinley that the loss of the Seve Trophy and EurAsia Cup competition was a key to Europe’s demise last week in rural Wisconsin.

“Not playing a Seve Trophy or Eurasia Cup is not the reason why we didn’t perform well this week,” said Howell.

“The Seve Trophy in its own right was a wonderful event. It was lovely. The guys who got to play in it thought it was fantastic. But it doesn’t need to come back for our Ryder Cup hopes. It’s a nice experience for the players who get to play in it and another team event for players in Europe would be a good thing, but I don’t think it’s a necessity.

“Listen, it’s still about the players, isn’t it? I heard Paul’s comments on TV. Of course, the tour is trying to provide a platform for the players to progress to playing majors, WGCs and PGA Tour events. That path is becoming clearer and clearer, obviously, but it’s still an individual sport.

“Guys still have got to go to the gym, they’ve got to have skill and they’ve got to do what they’ve got to do. Right now, they’ve got 12 guys who are probably stronger en masse than our top 12. But, more importantly, whilst they are ranked more highly, they were just in better form and you saw the emotion coming out of Rory, who had such a tough week.

“It was a wonderful interview, really, as it showed just what it means. The watching public are always sceptical, asking, ‘does it mean anything?’ Yeah, it really does and that was good to see.

“Yeah, for him to get beaten up like that on the first two days, you can’t legislate for that. Even if he’s not on top form, you think he is going to play potentially better than he is.  Jon Rahm did his bit, but Paddy really needed two or three players to have a dream week.

“It gets lost, really. Bernd [Wiesbeger] has played nicely, yet he came away with nothing. He started off with a stIffed wedge for birdie, didn’t look intimidated. It was a tough one, wasn’t it?

“And, even though I only got it from the TV, the atmosphere was tough. It was hard to feed off anything and they were a tough crowd, there’s no doubt about it. Obviously the booing wasn’t quite what you want as a sport, but it is heading that way at times and it has done last week again. With no one to temper, not aggression but you know what I am saying, I am sure it must have been difficult to get any positivity out there.”

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