Monthly Archives: September 2014

McIlroy: Fergie’s speech was highlight of Ryder Cup so far

Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to the European Ryder team

Sir Alex Ferguson speaks to the European Ryder team

Rory McIlroy admitted he was in a trance listening to former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson address the European Ryder Cup team on Tuesday evening.

Ferguson was invited to Gleneagles by home captain Paul McGinley and, as a fan of the Red Devils, world number one McIlroy in particular was thrilled to listen to what Ferguson had to say.

"For me, being a Manchester United fan, it was the highlight of the week so far," said the Open champion, who paraded the Claret Jug at Old Trafford earlier this season.

"I was just sitting there and looking up at him and I didn't take my eyes off him. I was sort of in this trance just listening to everything that he was saying and I'm sort of thinking, this is all the stuff that he's probably said to Manchester United teams over the years.

"He told us a couple of stories just of past experiences in some big games and some of the players that he managed and it was a great evening. It was a really cool thing to be a part of."

McIlroy joked that the non-Manchester United fans in the team made their feelings known, adding: "But (it was) very useful because we got to ask some questions, just about different things and what he thought was the key element to being successful as a team.

"He's a very inspirational sort of man when he talks. He's got a lot of authority and the room just goes quiet and everyone listens."

Asked if Ferguson had offered advice about playing in front of large crowds, the 25-year-old added: "Not about crowds in general. We play in front of big crowds week in, week out.

"United were obviously favourites and whenever he was managing, they made Old Trafford a bit of a fortress. And when teams went there, it was very hard to compete against United. He was just talking a bit about that. We're slight favourites for a reason. We deserve to be. We've played well this year. It's not something that we should shy away from. It's something that we should embrace."

It has become a habit for big names from different sports to be brought in to speak to Ryder Cup teams, McIlroy admitting the one he remembers most was speaking to Seve Ballesteros via teleconference at Celtic Manor in 2010.

And he added: "These things, they help. They are little details in the bigger picture, but it could be that half a per cent or that one per cent that helps us to get back that little trophy."

Real Madrid fan Sergio Garcia conceded he was not Ferguson's biggest fan, but added: "I think when you have the possibility of listening to somebody that has been up there in sports and been able to perform at a really high level for that long, it's always interesting to kind of pick his brain and see what things he's gone through.

"It was really, really interesting, and I'm actually glad that I got to… I think we all did, got to know him a little bit better and listen to him a little bit."

Celtic fan Stephen Gallacher revealed he had received a good luck message from former Parkhead boss Martin O'Neill, but was also impressed by Ferguson.

"I thought he was brilliant," Gallacher said. "He spoke for half an hour and then we sort of asked him some questions and he was very candid and very open. There's bits that I definitely would take away from it, not just as a team aspect, but for progression going forward.

"I kind of knew he was (a confident person) anyway, but to hear him talking you can see why the players respected him so much. You can see his sort of passion for the game and how much he loves football and how much he loves the strategy and the game.

"He misses it a bit, he said, but, you know, an absolute legend in my eyes."

McGinley gives idea of pairings for Ryder Cup

Paul McGinley has hinted at his possible pairings

Paul McGinley has hinted at his possible pairings

European captain Paul McGinley offered further hints about his possible pairings on the second day of official practice ahead of the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

After sending his 12-man team out in four groups of three on Tuesday, McGinley reverted to three groups of four this morning, but with Rory McIlroy once more in the same group as Martin Kaymer and Victor Dubuisson again alongside Graeme McDowell.

Sunda World Sport understands US Open champion Kaymer is a likely partner for McIlroy in foursomes, while McDowell said on Tuesday he was keen to act as a mentor to rookie Dubuisson after the "dynamic" of his relationship with McIlroy had changed.

Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were also together again in the second group along with Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson, with Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood kept together and joined by Scotland's Stephen Gallacher.

US captain Tom Watson kept the group of Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler together, Bradley and Mickelson having won all three of their matches together at Medinah.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, who also played together at Medinah, were playing alongside Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan, while Jim Furyk, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth made up the final group.

McDowell: Rory has outgrown me now

Alex Ferguson adressed Europe's Ryder Cup team on Tuesday evening

Alex Ferguson adressed Europe’s Ryder Cup team on Tuesday evening

Graeme McDowell has hinted he may not play with Rory McIlroy at this year’s Ryder Cup, but insists that has nothing to do with the personal issues between the duo.

The Irish duo of McDowell and McIlroy have been Ryder Cup partners in the past, but the senior man of the duo admits the pairing may not have the same spark as it did a few years ago.

While legal issues between the two have soured their relationship, McDowell insists any decision to split him up from McIlroy will be made on sporting grounds.

"Our personal issues have been well documented the last couple years and I believe that we've both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it," McDowell told his pre-event press conference on Tuesday.

"So our personal issues are not a problem this weekend, that's a fact.

"I think tactically, Rory and I's golf dynamic has changed significantly from the first time we ever played together back in 2009 at the Seve Trophy, when perhaps the older brother/younger brother leadership role that maybe I had with him, that's changed.

"He's the world's number one player. He's a four-time major champion. The dynamic between him and I is changed forever.

"He would now be the leader of the two of us and perhaps the dynamic doesn't work as well as it did in the past.

"Perhaps I'm the kind of guy that needs that leadership role a little bit, who needs to feel like he is on at least on a level with the guy he's playing with.

"I've spoken to (captain Paul) McGinley about this as well because he felt like himself and (Padraig) Harrington were the same way.

"They gelled well as a partnership in their early days, but when Harrington became the star (winning three major titles), the dynamic changed from a tactical point of view. It just didn't work so well anymore.

"So I kind of feel that's kind of the way Rory and I are viewing this week."

The preparations for Europe's Ryder Cup team continued on Tuesday evening with a rousing team meeting that was fronted by words of encouragement from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire made the perfect comeback after six months out of the saddle through injury when winning on Bonne Fee at Newton Abbott, his first ride back.

Maguire was kicked in the stomach on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March, suffering a fractured sternum and bleeding on his liver.

His return in the Royal British Legion Mares' Novices' Hurdle could not have gone any easier as Kim Bailey's seven-year-old travelled sweetly throughout, pulling clear before the home turn.

Maguire allowed himself a leisurely look around after jumping the last to see there were no dangers to the 5-6 favourite and coasted home.

Bailey told At The Races: "Jason lives very locally to us and comes in regularly to ride work and school plenty of lots

"We're aware that we are very much second fiddle to Donald McCain but he's a massive cog in our operation.

"We were delighted he came back quicker than anticipated."

Bailey also had news of stable star Harry Topper, who is in line for his own comeback next month.

He said: "Harry is on course for a repeat bid in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, that's the plan."

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire back with a win

Jason Maguire made the perfect comeback after six months out of the saddle through injury when winning on Bonne Fee at Newton Abbott, his first ride back.

Maguire was kicked in the stomach on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival in March, suffering a fractured sternum and bleeding on his liver.

His return in the Royal British Legion Mares' Novices' Hurdle could not have gone any easier as Kim Bailey's seven-year-old travelled sweetly throughout, pulling clear before the home turn.

Maguire allowed himself a leisurely look around after jumping the last to see there were no dangers to the 5-6 favourite and coasted home.

Bailey told At The Races: "Jason lives very locally to us and comes in regularly to ride work and school plenty of lots

"We're aware that we are very much second fiddle to Donald McCain but he's a massive cog in our operation.

"We were delighted he came back quicker than anticipated."

Bailey also had news of stable star Harry Topper, who is in line for his own comeback next month.

He said: "Harry is on course for a repeat bid in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, that's the plan."