Paul McGinley backs Lahinch as perfect preparation for Portrush
Last Updated: 03/07/19 4:03pm
Paul McGinley believes competing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open is ideal preparation for those who will also be teeing up in The 148th Open later this month.
McGinley is looking forward to his new role as tournament host this week, and he is delighted with the set-up at Lahinch as the historic west coast links hosts the event for the first time.
The former winning Ryder Cup captain praised the condition of the course and is delighted to have assembled a world-class field which is headlined by 2017 champion Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood.
"The players who come here will feel really well prepared to win a major championship in a few weeks time," said McGinley, who revealed that the course set-up for the Wales Open in 2014 was as similar as possible to Gleneagles for the following week's Ryder Cup.
"That's the plan, and I've done it in the past. I did it in Wales the week before the Ryder Cup, when David Garland quietly had everything set up exactly the same as we had in Gleneagles.
"I was telling all the players if they wanted to play the week before it was going to be perfect in Wales because it was going to be a perfect set-up in terms of preparation for the Ryder Cup.
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"I'm a great believer in preparation and, with The Open in Portrush in a couple of weeks' time, I always wanted to have a similar setup here. Obviously we're not copying exactly everything because of the different designs of the holes, but we have information on the green speeds, the rough heights, the fairway widths and the run-off areas.
"I don't want to make it too difficult. I'd love to have a winning score here of 10 to 15 under par. That to me would be a tremendous week. I don't want the players to walk away brokenhearted thinking, 'I played really well, but I shot 71 today. This is a tough course or an unfair course'. I don't think it is.
"And we're certainly not going to do anything to trick it up just to get a low winning score so the golf course can hold up. Like all great golf courses, it needs a bit of wind, and whatever will be will be. And if we get the 10 to 15 under par, I'll be absolutely thrilled. That will be the test."
McGinley is not competing at Lahinch this week, but the 52-year-old remains hopeful of featuring in the tournament many more times in the future.
"I've played very little golf this year, but I still love to play," he added. "All the different dynamics and stuff that I do in my life and I really enjoy it.
"I still love to play golf more than anything. And hopefully I'll get a chance to play some more Irish golf. I'm certainly not ruling it out, that's for sure."