Paul McGinley

Week 53 (20 - 26 September 2014)

This thought must have occurred to many managers of sports teams down the years: "Wouldn't it be great if Alex Ferguson could deliver my team talk for me today?"

It's absurd to entertain such an idea seriously, but an entertaining way to while away half an hour.

Unless you are Paul McGinley of course, who decided to ask "Fergie" to do just that - ahead of Europe taking on America in Gleneagles, for another instalment of the most exciting three days in golf: the Ryder Cup.

McGinley asked Ferguson, who he first met at a pro-am tournament 15 years ago, to speak to his team on Tuesday night in an attempt to create the environment for another European win – victory would be Europe's seventh from the last eight matches.

Although Ferguson's appearance in Gleneagles is a headline writer's dream, this is no publicity stunt from McGinley. The Irishman has been involved, either as a player or on the management team, with Europe at the last five Ryder Cups – winning four of them.

Part of the template strategy behind Europe's wins has been to bring in an inspirational voice from across the sports world on the eve of competition. In 2010 at Celtic Manor in Wales, legendary Welsh rugby player Gareth Edwards and European Ryder Cup hero Seve Ballesteros were asked to speak. While in 2012, former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola was recruited.

McGinley is not the sort of leader who inspires respect from his players by what he achieved as a golfer, but he has earned respect by making excellent decisions and managing his team well.

Which brings us back to Ferguson and his talk with Europe's players. Whether McGinley saw his own team talks as lacking a certain punch is unknown, but what is known is that no one lays down the sports law quite like Ferguson.

The old master's words have got Europe off to a good start in the 40th Ryder Cup as well – the hosts lead America 5-3 after day one.

Photo: Twitter