McGinley vows no Europe Ryder Cup overconfidence
(L-R) European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley talks with Victor Dubuisson of France during a practice round prior to the start of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on August 6, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky - by Sam Greenwood
But European captain Paul McGinley vowed Wednesday on the eve of the 96th PGA Championship that his squad would not take the US team lightly when the 40th Ryder Cup tees off July 26 in Scotland.
"Looks good at the moment," McGinley said. "Looks like we will be favorites going into the Ryder Cup, which has not really happened much over the history of the Ryder Cup. But that's a good position to be in."
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy won his third major title at July's British Open at Royal Liverpool while Martin Kaymer captured his second major in June at Pinehurst.
"When he gets into overdrive at the moment he looks like he's certainly got an extra gear compared to everybody else in the world," McGinley said of McIlroy.
"He has got loads of potential obviously still to come. There's a lot of wins and success going to come Rory's way.
"Things are great from a European perspective and we're looking good. Hopefully we can hold that form for another seven weeks."
US fortunes have taken a dip in the past week with Dustin Johnson taking a leave of absence to the end of the year amid a report of a positive drug test for cocaine and Tiger Woods pulling out of an event with back spasms barely four months after back surgery.
But don't tell McGinley the Americans, led by Masters champion Bubba Watson and US and British Open runner-up Rickie Fowler, won't be tough to beat.
"I'm certainly under no illusions how strong America is going to be," McGinley said.
"They have been in some ways very unfortunate to lose the last two Ryder Cups, where Lady Luck and a lot of players showing a lot of fortitude at the right time just edged out in front to win by a point on each occasion.
"The margin between the two teams is very small. We certainly won't be getting ahead of ourselves and thinking it's a case of turning up and winning. Far from it. It's a big task ahead of us and the players all know that."
- Tight qualifying fight -
European qualifying runs through August 31, giving Irishman McGinley, 47, only two days to decide his three captain's choices.
"The difference between Graeme McDowell, Jamie Donaldson and Luke Donald is less than three points. It's nothing," McGinley said. "It's going to be an exciting run in for those guys and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all evolves."
England's Ian Poulter, a stalwart in Europe's victory rally two years ago at Medinah, is a likely pick should he miss qualifying on points.
"With his pedigree and his background, of course he has got a great chance of being one, but he needs to keep showing form just like all the rest of the guys do," McGinley said. "He's only one decent performance away from being automatic on the team. He's not a huge worry for me because his form has been quite good."
Spain's Sergio Garcia, the British Open runner-up last month, said it would be a shocker not to have the English trio of Donald, Poulter and Lee Westwood in the Europe lineup.
"They are guys you would like to have on your team," Garcia said. "It would be difficult to see a Ryder Cup without all three. It would be kind of strange."