(Reuters) - Ireland’s first Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley returns to action on home soil this week fired up by German Martin Kaymer’s emphatic US Open triumph last Sunday.
A satisfied observer of Kaymer’s eight-shot win at Pinehurst, North Carolina, McGinley was ‘buzzing’ on Tuesday ahead of playing in the Irish Open at Fota Island Resort, where he won the first of his four Irish PGA Championships in 1997.
“On the back of Martin’s win, it creates a buzz for everybody at this tournament, everybody in the European Tour in the background and obviously me (as) Ryder Cup captain,” said McGinley.
“It is exciting. There are a lot of exciting players in the field. Obviously Rory McIlroy is going to get a lot of attention and Graeme McDowell, too. It’s all good and there is a good buzz around the place.”
With all four Major champions from both sides of the Irish border in the field - Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, McDowell and McIlroy - McGinley is looking forward to big home crowds at the event, which has returned to Cork for the first time in 12 years.
“I think some venues are blessed with good weather and Fota Island seems to be blessed,” added McGinley, who will lead the European team against the United States at Gleneagles in Scotland in September.
“The last time we were here the weather was sensational, as well, and looks like we are going to have a tremendous week too, the way the forecast is.”
Ryder Cup stalwart Harrington, who finished tied second and tied sixth when the Irish Open was last played at Fota Island, in 2001 and 2002, was equally happy at the prospect of a return.
“It’s obviously been a happy hunting ground for me over the years. I do like the venue. I like the atmosphere the venue gives off,” said the three-time major champion.
He will play alongside McIlroy and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher for the opening two rounds, while McDowell and fellow Irishman Shane Lowry will be joined by defending champion Paul Casey.
Reporting By Tony Goodson; editing by Martyn Herman