GM: Who do you see as favourites for the Ryder Cup?
BG: I don’t really see that there is a favourite. The teams to me are very evenly matched and it’ll be a case of who plays well on the day will win.
GM: How important is home advantage?
At Kiawah Island, the Americans had extremely vocal, partisan support. That was the first Ryder Cup where the spectators more or less participated in the match. But I thought the American support at Oakland Hills backfired a bit and the Americans, in some respects, got a little bit of stage fright.
The Americans have got five rookies in their side, and we’ll just have to wait and see how they react to playing front of a vocal home gallery. The Europeans are a very strong, in-form side with experience of playing in America. I think that will neutralise the home advantage.
GM: Who has the best attributes as captain?
BG: I think Olazabal is a great captain. He’s a proud Spaniard and he’s always been highly motivated in the Ryder Cup. His captaincy will be very different from Davis Love, who goes about his business in a quiet, professional and expert manner. I really don’t know which approach will work out best.
GM: What do you make of the respective wildcard picks?
BG: I would have made the same choices. Olazabal said from the start he wanted his picks to be in form, and Poulter and Colsaerts are next in both ranking categories.
Stricker and Furyk are both versatile and have good relationships with Woods. Johnson would have qualified had he not been injured and Snedeker is a streaky player, ideal for fourballs, and when you consider he’s top of the American putting stats, he had to make the team.
Bernard Gallacher is an ambassador for Golf Care, the UK’s largest specialist golf insurer. Part two to follow next week