February 08, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Paul McGinley is making a rare foray onto the PGA TOUR this week.
The European Ryder Cup captain is playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the sixth time in his career and the first since 2009. McGinley has only played in 56 previous events on the PGA TOUR -- and all but 10 of those were majors or World Golf Championships.
So six appearances at Pebble Beach speaks to the Irishman's affinity for the scenic Monterey Peninsula.
"It's one of my favorite places to come anywhere in the world," McGinley said. "It's great to be back."
McGinley's best finish at Pebble Beach is a tie for 12th in 2006. Thursday's bogey-free 67 was his career low at Pebble Beach, although McGinley hasn't been able to maintain the momentum, shooting nine higher in the second round. He was 4 over through 10 holes at Monterey Peninsula when wind forced the suspension of play on Saturday.
McGinley isn't here to keep tabs on potential members of his Ryder Cup team, either. After all, Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Victor Dubuisson of France are the only two players competing this week who are very high on the eligibility rankings that will determine the automatic qualifiers.
"Not really, no, it's more of a case of me just coming here," McGinley said. "There are a lot of Irishmen playing here -- Dermot Desmond, J.P. McManus, they are obviously great amateurs. And Pascal Grizot, who is going to be running the Ryder Cup in 2018 in France is here. They are all good friends of mine. Obviously, Padraig (Harrington), as well, too."
McGinley says playing with Mark King, the CEO of TaylorMade, a friend for a quarter century, is a "great thrill."
When he's not playing on the European Tour, McGinley said he's been working on the logistical aspects of the Ryder Cup -- uniforms, hotel rooms and the like for the matchs in September at Gleneagles.
"The qualification process is well under way," McGinley said. "As the year goes on and we get closer to September, the communication with the players will step up a little bit.
"But at this moment in time, it's more observing what goes on and being on top of any problems that may arise."