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Paul McGinley rates UK&I as underdogs
September 14, 2011

Paul McGinley said his side will be underdogs in this week’s Seve Trophy match against Jean Van de Velde’s Continental Europe.

That is despite McGinley’s team boasting world number two Lee Westwood, British Open champion Darren Clarke and Sunday’s Dutch Open winner Simon Dyson in the biennial event at St Nom La Breteche in Paris.

“There is no doubt Continental Europe are the favourites and a stronger team on paper,” McGinley told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“Look at the quality and experience they have in the team, where they are in the world rankings and Race to Dubai. Their top players seem to enjoy the event and make themselves available.

“They have a French captain as well. That’s going to mean a vociferous crowd. We’re under no illusions we’re the underdogs. But we have been before … and come out on top,” added Irishman McGinley.

Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, who has won three times this season, young Italian talent Matteo Manassero and experienced Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez will form the backbone of the Continental Europe team.

Britain and Ireland have won five times out of six in the event founded by the late Seve Ballesteros to give Europe’s players more matchplay experience outside the Ryder Cup.

“I’ll be looking for input from the experienced men, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter. I’ll be consulting them all the way through,” said McGinley.

“I’ve played Ryder Cups with all three of them … and Seve Trophy matches so I know them all well personally and professionally.

“I respect their opinions. As much as I have an idea what I plan on doing, I’ll be looking to bounce some ideas off them,” the Irishman said.

McGinley, though, is without world number one Luke Donald and third-ranked Rory McIlroy.

“I’m disappointed not to have Luke and Rory because I’m competitive, I want to win. I wanted my best team available,” he said.

“But I understand the top players in the world are playing a different schedule in which ranking points are very important to them. Everyone makes decisions on what is best for their career.

“I certainly wouldn’t criticise them. I’d love them to be playing but that’s not the case. That is why it is so important Lee, Darren and Ian opted to play,” said McGinley.

“The team would have looked weak without them and it’s good for the tournament they decided to play.”

McGinley did not say whether he would pick established pairings or if he would break them up to blend in with the rookies.

“I’ve got a good idea of my pairings,” he said. “The big decision I’ve faced is, do I put my best players together or do I spread them out and put the debutants with experienced players?

“I’ll be running everything by the boys when practice is over. I’ll be making my decisions then.”

The Seve Trophy starts on Thursday.

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