Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Vivendi Seve Trophy: McGinley has a Single problem

While Paul McGinley will take enormous pride in retaining the Vivendi Seve Trophy, he and Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal will sit down to try and put a handle on why the Great Britain & Ireland team lost out in the singles at Saint Nom-la-Breteche.



Olazabal is heading to Medinah later this week worried at the trend in recent Ryder Cup matches which has seen Europe losing the singles when in a winning position going into the final day.

It transpired again in France, with McGinley's team losing the first five matches and winning just three before eventually emerging victorious 15 and a half to 12 and a half.

Among those to be swallowed up in a tsunami of blue Continental Europe singles wins was World No 2 Lee Westwood and British Open champion Darren Clarke. Westwood lost the first match 2&1 to in-form Dane Thomas Bjorn.

Clarke was never in front in his singles encounter against Miguel Angel Jimenez and after both had birdied the 15th, he conceded to the Spaniard when he found a water hazard with his tee shot at the par-three 16th.

It tied the encounter on 11 points each and when Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts eagled 17, and then halved the last against David Horsey, it was 12 points apiece.

It was left to Scottish rookie Scott Jamieson, with McGinley by his side for the last few holes, to turn the tide, and he duly defeated Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal by one hole.

From there on GB&I were never headed, winning another two matches and halving two to eventually win comfortably by three points. And McGinley's men triumphed despite the absence of at least six top GB&I players, including the Irish trio of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington along with England's Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Paul Casey.

However there was no champagne shower, with McGinley more concerned with Europe's Ryder Cup match in Medinah next year.

“Of course, I take enormous pride in being the winning Vivendi Seve Trophy captain for a second time in a row,” he said.

“So at the end of the day we've lost the singles. Monty went through the same thing at Celtic Manor and I lost the singles at the Seve Trophy last time.

“We're managing to secure good leads but then only managing to get over the line, and there is no point in ignoring that because it's fact and it's happened three straight times, and four if you count Nick Faldo's Valhalla side.

“So I have now been involved three times off the course with a team that has lost the singles, so that's cause for analysis,” said the Dubliner.