News & Opinion

McGinley shows he still can play a bit

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Paul McGinley never won a major championship, but that didn’t stop him Thursday from looking like he’s been there before during a windy first round of the Senior British Open at the Old Course.

Posting a 6-under 66 at St. Andrews, the former European Ryder Cup captain was just as surprised as most of the assembled media because, by his own acknowledgement, he has not played much competitive golf since he joined the senior circuit.

Instead, McGinley spends much of his time working in the business and academic worlds, loving the change of scenery.

“I got so many other things in place and goals that I'm chasing there,” McGinley said from behind the 18th green. “I still love to play golf. I would love to have the opportunity to play a little bit in America and a little bit here, but that’s not what's driving me now.”

McGinley, 51, an Irishman, was a four-time winner on the European Tour. He played on three victorious Ryder Cup teams before captaining the Europeans to the 2014 Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles in Scotland. He represents numerous companies, does some public speaking, participates in a leadership program at the London Business School and holds a seat on the board of the European Tour.

During one of his public-speaking events leading into the 2014 Ryder Cup, McGinley was identified as a potential lecturer by an attendee from the London Business School and now is part of the school’s curriculum in a case study on the 2014 Ryder Cup.

“It's been interesting,” McGinley said. “It's taken me in a new trajectory. I learned a lot, too. I kind of go back to school a little bit. I’m reading a lot of books, and they give me a lot of stuff and a lot of insights.”

Time permitting at his home near London, McGinley hits balls and plays in money games at his home course, Sunningdale. He brings a game to Scotland that, though not tournament-tested recently, appears to be promising. He stood one shot off the lead set by American Kirk Triplett and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant (scores).

“Obviously pleased,” McGinley said. “Playing the Old Course on a day like this, it's magical and mystical. There's something about St. Andrews, and if you can't enjoy days like this, you'll never enjoy golf. Obviously, today was a good day. When you put the good score on top of it, it's something special.”

Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email: alex@morningread.com; Twitter: @AlexMiceli