GLENEAGLES, September 23- Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley, has called on retired Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson to give a motivational speech to his team ahead of the weekend showdown with the United States at Gleneagles.
The Irishman said that he had intended to keep the move secret, but the cat got out of the bag when the legendary Scottish coach was spotted at the course on Tuesday morning as the European team prepared for their first official practice round.
“We met a number of times over the last few months. I met him initially 15 years ago … and I met him a number of times over the last few months. We’ve had lunch, no more than that,” West Ham fan McGinley said.
“Haven’t went into massive detail. He’s asked me a lot of questions and I’ve given him some interest, and I know he’s very keen and looking forward to tonight (team dinner).
“He’s a big fan of golf, as we know. He knows Rory (McIlroy) very well, obviously, and Rory is a big Man United fan.
“But this is not about him being a headmaster and coming in and preaching to them. This is about fun.”
Ferguson retired as Manchester United coach in 2013 after a 26-year career that brought the club 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League crowns and two Champions League titles.
Calling in big names to inspire players is nothing new in Ryder Cup lore and two years ago in Medinah outside Chicago, European captain Jose Maria Olazabal called on the services of then-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.
His US counterpart Davis Love employed golf-mad basketball star Michael Jordan with backup from such as swim legend Michael Phelps, comedian Bill Murray and singer/actor Justin Timberlake.
In that case, the celebrity factor failed to work as Europe won eight of the closing 12 singles to retain the trophy.
Asked if he had any plans to bring in motivational speakers for his players this week, US skipper Tom Waston said he did, but refused to give any names away.
“Yes, have some people coming. Basically the PGA has spoken to the team, our PGA of America, and we have some other special guests,” was all he would say.