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Golf: McGinley to head Stateside for qualification talks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley will travel to Florida in coming months to discuss with Europe's leading players the merits of 'tweaking' the 2014 team qualifying process.

Europe has won five of the last six Ryder Cups including last year's 'Miracle at Medinah' but with a team nowadays almost entirely based in the United States.

However McGinley, in his own meticulous manner, has spent the six weeks since his appointment researching whether the present qualifying and wildcard set-up will help deliver Europe a record-equalling third straight success.

McGinley would not disclose what he had in mind but with 10 of the 12 players who competed in Chicago playing full-time on the PGA Tour he could have in mind increasing the number of automatic selections off the World Points qualifying list or adopting the approach of 2012 USA captain, Davis Love III, who had four 'wildcard' picks.

"I'm about 60 percent down the path with that research but then I want to go to the Players Championship and bounce some of my ideas off the leading European players and to see how open they are to the idea of either a, b or c but without asking them to make a decision," he said.

"However I can assure everyone it will just be a tweak rather than a change because I feel if it's not broke, why fix it."

McGinley was officially welcomed to Scotland on Tuesday by Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond at his Bute House residence in Edinburgh.

The first question Salmond asked the Irishman was whether the role of 2014 Captain has sunk in.

McGinley responded: "Every night I go to bed thinking about the Ryder Cup and every morning I wake up still thinking about it. I'm so excited about it and I have so many ideas.

"Even when I'm watching a football match I'm now analysing it in a different way. Even when I'm reading all the quotes in newspapers I'm not looking for headlines from players any more I want to know what the managers are saying."

Salmond presented McGinley with the gift of specially commissioned replica of an 1880 St. Andrews Golf Company putter to mark his visit to the Home of Golf.

McGinley will spend Wednesday at Gleneagles with European Tour staff and hotel officials getting more familiar with next year's host venue.

"It's exciting to be coming here as Ryder Cup captain," he said.

"It's the first time I've been to Gleneagles when it hasn't had the stands up but coming here now is a huge moment in my career.

"Now, irrespective of what the result is, this will be a place that is synonymous with me for the rest of my life. Just as The Belfry has become in terms of me holing that winning putt, I can feel that sense of connection between me and here forever more."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130226/golf-mcginley-head-stateside-qualification-talks