GM: Can you hazard a guess into some European pairings that you might expect to see?
BG: I’ve spoken to Olazabal about that and he tried to give me the impression he hasn’t thought about that yet! But I did say to him I think Northern Ireland would be very unhappy if you didn’t put McIlroy and McDowell together. He had rye smile at that one! You’d imagine Rose and Poulter would start together, and you could imagine Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia could start together.
GM: Who would you say are the most important players for Europe?
BG: You’d have to say McIlroy, Donald and Westwood. Those are three key players. McIlroy because he’s going in with a lot of expectation, he’s the world’s top player, so you’d expect him to get three, four of five points, the same for Westwood and Donald. When you consider you only need 14 points, that’s quite encouraging!
GM: Who would you select to go out first and bring up the rear in the singles for Europe if you were captain?
BG: It really depends on the state of the match to begin with. What you’ve got to avoid is putting your best players too far down the pack, because you really want their points as soon as possible in the singles. I felt Tiger was completely wasted by Curtis Strange in 2002.
GM: Say it was all square going into the singles, who would you put out first?
BG: I’d put McIlroy out first, and I’d probably put Poulter out 12th.
GM: What is your prediction for the final score?
BG: It’s difficult to vote against Europe, but I think if any match could be a draw, this looks like a draw. Never in the past have you looked at a Ryder Cup match and said that. And a draw is okay for Europe as we’d still hang onto the trophy!
Bernard Gallacher is an ambassador for Golf Care, the UK’s largest specialist golf insurer. Read part one here.