Paul McGinley

Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley

McGinley understands pressure situation

Paul McGinley understands from personal experience the pressure 2014 Ryder Cup hopefuls are facing as they make a final push to secure a place in the European team.

The 71° OPEN D'ITALIA Presented by DAMIANI represents the last chance for players to claim an automatic spot at the showpiece at Gleneagles next month.

The Irishman knows the situation players find themselves in having secured a place in Bernhard Langer's team for the 2004 event following a strong finish in the final qualifying event.

And the 47 year old continued that momentum by playing a huge part in the European team triumphing at Oakland Hills Country Club.

McGinley, who is expected to return to action following a shoulder problem here, said: “It’s a big event and a big week for so many people. It’s an exciting week.

“I have been in this situation before, going into the last calendar event in 2004, where I was I think just outside the team. I think I may have been 11th place with Frederik Jacobson just ahead of me.

“We had a race to the finish line right until the last day. We were drawn together on the last day and I think I finished in the top five of the tournament and edged just ahead of Freddie. I then went on to play what I considered to be my best Ryder Cup in 2004.

“I can understand the pressure the guys are under. I can relate to it. There is no doubt that the performance I had in Munich in 2004 that pushed myself over the line was a huge psychological boost for me.

“It was one of the reasons why I believed I played so well. There is an opportunity for the guys that are here this week to do something similar.

“To play well in the last counting event, with the spotlight on you, will be huge for them. If not making the team, then its certainly useful in terms of making an impression.”

One player who can play his way into McGinley’s team is three time European Tour winner Stephen Gallacher.

In order to leapfrog Graeme McDowell into the final automatic qualifying spot, the Scot - currently sitting 11th place in the World Ranking List - needs to win or finish runner-up at the Circolo Golf Torino - La Mandria this week.

Like Jamie Donaldson at the D+D REAL Czech Masters last week, McGinley wants Gallacher to thrive on the pressure.

He said: “I can relate to Stevie. I was in a situation where I had to go head-to-head so I know how he is feeling. I know how he has been feeling the last few weeks.

“He is very much in it and I wish him the very best of luck. I know what it is like to play a Ryder Cup in your home country, I had that privilege in 2006. I want to see guys bursting over the line.

“I want to see that line been something you want to gravitate towards, something that you long for and something that you play towards.

“Something that is exciting and your golf as a result raises to another level and drags you towards that line. Just like Jamie Donaldson did last week. That’s what he did. It was an exciting time for him.”