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Interview with Paul McGinley; Visit to Evian; Edoardo Molinari, Mythbuster; Progress at St. Andrews

Aired September 5, 2013 - 05:30:00   ET


SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN HOST: With a salt line and a bag (ph), can Europe maintain its dominance over the Americans? We're at Gleneagles with Europe's captain for the Ryder Cup.



PAUL MCGINLEY, TENNIS PRO, EUROPEAN CAPT.: Oh, Shane, you don't want to hit it there.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): On this month's program, we play the Ryder Cup course with Europe's captain, Paul McGinley.

MCGINLEY: I'm aware and other players are aware that we're going to have to play extremely well to win this Ryder Cup again.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): What makes a major? After the Solheim dramas, the elite of women's golf head to Evian and an unprecedented fifth major in the game.

Plus Edoardo Molinari:


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And Chinese whispers in St. Andrews.


O'DONOGHUE: You have to go back to August 2009 for the last time that an American team beat Europe in the Solheim or Ryder Cups. The top team competitions in the women's and men's game.

After Lotte Neumann's women once again claimed the Solheim Cup last month, the next European team captain who'll be going into battle against the Americans will be Paul McGinley. And it'll be here at Gleneagles in the Ryder Cup in a year's time.



O'DONOGHUE: Oh, it's been years ago now, we're on the course, which is going to, I'm sure, see a lot of drama unfolding.

Are you excited?

MCGINLEY: Yes, we'll see a lot of drama unfolding, yes. Players will be coming up from that tunnel over there, which is (inaudible) over there, they'll be walking out here. It's going to be 3.5 thousands seats around here, which is a huge amount of seats. So it's going to be a real first tee environment, that's for sure.

O'DONOGHUE: Now you've got that experience as well to bring to bear, because you've been the player; you've been the gladiator in the arena, but you've been crucially behind the scenes as well, assisting some notable captains in recent years.

But this will be you leading from the front.

Is this something you've always wanted?

MCGINLEY: Yes. I wouldn't say wanted, but it's kind of evolved that way, you know, things kind of worked out for me. The (inaudible) trophies went really well for me when I was there. And (inaudible) vice captain season (ph) worked out well. And obviously I played three times.

So it's kind of evolved into that rather than me going out there, pushing for it.

O'DONOGHUE: How impressed are you with the Solheim Cup winning performance from Europe and with all those rookies as well?

MCGINLEY: Very delighted. I know what it feels like to win on American soil. It's a special thing. And to win (inaudible) did by 8 points was incredible. Hopefully this will propel them onto a brighter commercial future, just like the Ryder Cup has done for our tour.

O'DONOGHUE: Were you impressed with the amount of rookies on the team?

MCGINLEY: To be honest, the definition of rookie has changed so much over the years. You know, rookies, when I started out, were real rookies. I mean, you take -- you'd take guys like Rory McIlroy, coming on tour; now, you know, Rory's flown all around the world as an amateur. He's played in all the best courses. He played down in Australia. He's played in America, represented Ireland or Britain and Ireland or, you know, whatever the case may be.

So you know kids coming on tour now are not really rookies in the sense that certainly I was when I came on tour.


MCGINLEY: What's the number, Jim (ph)?


MCGINLEY: (Inaudible) 51. The idea with professionals is we use the wind as a buffer. So if the wind's coming off there right, we generally want to go this way against it, so it's landing softly. If the wind's off to the left, we try to go that way against it, depending on the pin's position, of course, too; whereas with a driver, we normally try to ride the wind, get maximum (inaudible) distance.


O'DONOGHUE: So you have a lot of say now with regard to the setup, especially the home captain does.

Is that something that's going to be occupying you quite a bit?

MCGINLEY: Yes, I'll be aware of it; there's no doubt. And you know, there's not a lot of decisions I can make at the moment, because I want to see how the European team is formulating and how the American team is formulating. We've got experience of playing 10 years around here in the Johnnie Walker Championship and we know -- a lot of us know the pin positions and how the course is normally set up. And you know, we can use that to our advantage.

We've been very fortunate (inaudible). Lady Luck has shone on us. There's no doubt about it. The last two Ryder Cups we've won by a point. I mean, that's the narrowest, narrowest of margins to win by. So we've been -- I've been -- I'm very much aware that this is all such a small margin between the two teams. Lady Luck has shone on us the last two, and that's why we've (inaudible) the right side. And I think there's no doubt that Tom Watson (inaudible) their package in terms of being a strong team. There's no doubt about that and I think I'm aware and all the players are aware that we're going to have to play extremely well to win this Ryder Cup again.

O'DONOGHUE: You have a good record, though. I mean, you've never been beaten, have you?

MCGINLEY: Yes. Yes, I've been fortunate. I've had -- luckily, I've had great teams around me and you know, I'm very fortunate in my career. This has kind of coincided with a real flourish of strong European players. And I think the dynamic of the European team has changed over the years from the 1980s, early 1990s. You know, we had six or seven really strong players and then maybe four or five who mightn't been as strong. And as a result, the team was put out very much with a heavy dependency on those top six or seven players.

Different now. You know, illustrated last year when I was (inaudible) played all 12 players in the very first day.


MCGINLEY: Oh, Shane, you don't want to hit it there.

O'DONOGHUE: Well, this is one of the holes that has changed quite a bit in recent years. And you've played your own part in it?

MCGINLEY: Not really, no; no, I haven't. (Inaudible). This is Jack Nicklaus. This is Jack Nicklaus' design and the view from the people here in Gleneagles was that, you know, we want to have a grandstand finish; we want to have an exciting finish.

Also bearing in mind to get hospitality around the 18th green. So Jack Nicklaus come up with an idea where he lowered the green. It's quite a lot uphill, it used to be. And he's lowered it by, I don't know the exact footage, but I would say 20-25 feet, which is a lot of sod to be moved and dropped the green down and made runoffs around the green as well, too.

So it's a very small target to hit now. But he's also shortened the hole as well, too. The tee box used to be back a little bit further. And he's brought the green forward a little bit as well, too.

So it's well within range now, but it's risk-reward second shot (ph).


MCGINLEY: This is going to be a popular spot in the Ryder Cup. No doubt about it. This is -- this is an area that's been designed especially with pin positions in mind and (inaudible) up and down.

So how would you fancy getting up and down from there and there to win the Ryder Cup?

O'DONOGHUE: I'd be thinking Texas wedge. I'd be thinking it and get the putter out.

MCGINLEY: Well, yes. I think a lot of players will under that kind of pressure. You know, the difficulty here is you know, a lot of the American players will be used to big, thick rough around the greens. But that's not going to be the case here, as you can see.




MCGINLEY: That was a perfect shot.

Wow. That's extremely good there.

O'DONOGHUE: (Inaudible), the Ryder Cup captain.

MCGINLEY: It's not leather (ph) any more. It's inside the rubber.

All right, Captain, you have this for the win.

MCGINLEY: (Inaudible) for the win. You're not giving me too far enough.


MCGINLEY: That was a break.

(Inaudible), too.

O'DONOGHUE: (Inaudible).

MCGINLEY: Thanks, Shaney (ph).

O'DONOGHUE: Paul McGinley, thank you very much.

MCGINLEY: Thank you. You're welcome.

O'DONOGHUE: A year to go; it's an exciting year ahead and the best of luck with it all.

MCGINLEY: Yes. Thank you very much. I'm sure it's going to be a great ride the next 12 months.


O'DONOGHUE: Still to come on LIVING GOLF, the new fifth major.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been up there and been one of the most important ones. So it will be exciting.



O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF and two pieces of history in the women's game. The first came in the Solheim Cup, with Europe's unprecedented win on American soil.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just loved playing the Solheim Cup. So it's awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the first tee shot, I think we started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we got outplayed this week. We (inaudible) this week. I wanted my team to play great, but they did better. We're going to get that cup back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just phenomenal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the best super women's golf, this massive win, Solheim.


O'DONOGHUE: Well, after the dramas of Denver, the women's game continues to break new ground this month. For the first time ever this season, there's a fifth major: the Evian.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): It's not hard to see one of the reason the players like the Evian. Nestled on a mountain side overlooking Lake Geneva, there are worse places to spend a week.

So why a fifth major? And can you just create one?

HEATHER DALY-DONOFRIO, SVP TOUR OPS, LPGA: I think there's room for five majors. We're not the PGA tour and we're not other sports. We're the LPGA and we're a different brand. And through the course of our history, we've not only had four; sometimes we've had three. Sometimes we've had two. And it gives us the opportunity to showcase the best women players in the world across the whole season.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And just how did Evian get its new major status?

Bluntly, did its backers offer more cash to the LPGA?

DALY-DONOFRIO: Absolutely not. Evian has had a long history of golf here on this golf course. They started out as an LET event. They came on the LPGA schedule around 2000. And for the last 14 years, they've been part of the heart and soul of the LPGA schedule. And they've had a great history of crowning tremendous champions. So that coupled with the worldwide exposure that we get from this tournament, they've been tremendous sponsors. In the history and the person, all of that makes them a major championship.

FRANCK RIBOUD, CHAIRMAN, EVIAN CHAMPIONSHIP: We negotiate with the LPGA. We explain to them the vision we have for the ladies' golf of game with a kind of worldwide tour. And we told them that to have a major on the continent would be something wonderful for the golf, for the ladies' golf all over the world.

We still have the same field (ph) with them. We share the TV rights as it was before, which is something we accept occurred (ph). We increased the number of players. But it's the fine-tuning. It's not a revolution.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): The Evian's always been one of the richest events on tour, with a range of blue chip sponsors. This year's prize money totals $3.25 million. Add to that the intimate setting and a restricted field and it attracts the elite of the women's game.

CAROLINE HEDWALL, GOLF PRO: Growing up, Evian's always been one of the bigger events that I've watched on TV. And I think it was the next step for that event to become a major. It's been up there and been one of the most important ones. And I'm very excited to go down there. I know they've rebuilt the course and I've heard just positive stuff about that. So it will be exciting.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): The most visible difference this year will be on the course, tucked tightly into the mountainside. The Evian Resort has spent 7.5 million euros on redesigning and upgrading it, all done within the past year.

YANNICK LE HEC, DG, EVIAN RESORT: The course we had before, it was a very nice golf course. But not, I would say, challenging. The biggest changement is the 16, the wetlands zone, which is a par 3 now. And we used to have a par 3 which was the 17th hole, but it was, I would say, a fault (ph) par 3. Now it's a longer run with the water. We've a new shaping on the wings, more opportunity on the putting surface and position. So more challenging for the game.

DAVE SAMPSON, PROJECT ARCHITECT, EUROPEAN GOLF: I mean, we've got the 18th, which has changed from a (inaudible) reachable par 5 into a tough, demanding par 4, playing over the lake feature.

We felt originally that the greens were very small; there wasn't many -- much undulation to them. So we felt that there was an opportunity to add a bit more challenge to the greens. Also increased the size of them, making them a lot bigger, which gives a bit more variety in terms of pin placements.

The bunkers have changed style; they were previously pretty flat, large bunkers. And we tried to make them small, smaller, deeper, a little bit more of a penalty.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): The new contract between the tours and Evian guarantees its major status until at least 2018. So with three majors in the U.S. and two now in Europe, could there ever be room for a sixth? After all, most of the world's top 50 come from Asia.

DALY-DONOFRIO: There are five solid majors, around which we build our schedule. We're not going to have six majors. Obviously, a lot of the best players in the world are coming from Asia. And that trend will continue. We go to Asia six or seven times over the course of the year for tournaments. But a lot goes into making a tournament a major. And right now we've got our five.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And Evian's had an extra stroke of luck this year. Inbee Park is the defending champion. If she were to win again and make it four major championships in a year, Evian would immediately become part of golf history.


O'DONOGHUE: Up next, Edoardo Molinari with some truths about your driving.

MOLINARI: Exactly what you want it to show, 20 years of doing this.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And the latest from the new club at St. Andrews.



O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF. Now the first in a new series, over time certain myths develop about our swings or the clubs we use. So who better to set us right than a Ryder Cup star with a science degree -- and a little technology.



MOLINARI: Today, the truth about loft and drivers.

Myth number one: the number on your driver is your loft.

Loft on your driver is not just the number on the bottom of your club, is it?

EMANUEL FRAUENLOB, TRACKMAN: Yes, you're right, Edoardo.

The real loft is very different from the static loft, which is stated on the club. The real loft is the loft that is presented to the ball at moment of impact. And that depends on a couple of factors. One obviously is the static loft of the club. The other one is how you deliver the club to the ball. And the third factor is where you impact the ball on the face, high, center or low.


MOLINARI: I started working with Sean Pauli (ph) and one of the first things we did with him was to (inaudible) on the driver. I've always had my attack (inaudible) down into the ball. And the first thing we did (inaudible) make it -- the club more up when he hit the ball. And that improves my launch condition and lets me hit the ball a little bit further.

Angle of attack is basically the vertical direction that the club head drivers at impact with the ball. So if my club head is coming from high above down into the ball, this is a negative angle of attack. Well, a positive angle of attack would be opposite. So with my club coming in quite low and exiting quite high.


MOLINARI: (Inaudible) at least 1 degree up, I think it was a very good shot. Let's see the numbers with Emanuel.

FRAUENLOB: Yes, you are completely right. It was exactly 1 degree up on the ball, very good smash factor, with super large conditions, 2.5 spin and a total carry distance of 281 yards with a slight drop (ph).

MOLINARI: So now I'm going to show you what's going to happen with a negative angle of attack, which is the club coming down into the ball.


MOLINARI: So what did the numbers tell us?

FRAUENLOB: Well, this was you were hitting down on the ball 2 degrees, still a good contact. But because you were hitting down, you got much more spin on the ball. So you were 3,100 spin on this ball, carried 268. So compared to the shot where you were hitting up on the ball, you lost around 18 yards carry distance, and also you're landing and you got much steeper because you got more spin on the ball so the landing angle was about 40 degrees.

MOLINARI: So let's look at something else that changes loft and spin of the ball, which is where you hit the ball on the face. So now I'm going to hit a ball high on the face and see what happens.


MOLINARI: Well, that was high on the face. Now I'm going to hit one low on the face and see what difference it makes.


MOLINARI: (Inaudible) show. Twenty years of doing this.


FRAUENLOB: So you've been hitting pretty low on the face. You can see that there's less loft; it was 8 degree loft; the previous shot, it was 12.5 degrees loft presented at impact. And this one you had 3,000 spin; on the shot which was high on the face, you had 2,000 spin. So you gained basically 1,200 revolutions on the ball and you lost almost 10 yards just because of impact location.

The face is not flat; so if you hit it high like half an inch high on the face, you actually add 2.3 degrees of loft to the club. So if you hit it low half an inch, you deloft it by 2.3 degrees. So it's quite a big change. It has a 10 degrees driver, you hit it high half an inch, you actually hit a 12.3 degree driver.

MOLINARI: So there you have it, the loft you need to play, it's scientifically proven. It doesn't depend only on your club speed.



O'DONOGHUE: Edoardo Molinari.

Now early this summer, we featured plans to build a new private members course at St. Andrews, designed by Tom Weiskopf, construction started in April. And we've been following it stage by stage.

So what's been happening over the past few months?



O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Previously at St. Andrews International:


EWAN MCKAY, OWNER/DEVELOPER, ST. ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL: St. Andrews needs a private golf club and no other facility can provide that. And we wouldn't have done it anywhere else.

TOM WEISKOPF, GOLF PRO AND COURSE DESIGNER: So we'll actually take it out and stretch it out and flatten it out so at the end of the day, it'll look like a big block of melted chocolate.

ESIE O'MAHONY, GOLF DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, SOL: The most difficult thing for us to do is to interpret their design from paper to reality.


STEPHEN JONES, LAWYER: I think we're pretty confident we'll have our founder members pretty quickly.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): So how far have they got?

O'MAHONY: Obviously, at this point, we're still mainly focused on the artworks (ph) and the shaping. So we started down the very bottom holes and worked our way up, cutting, filling, cutting, filling, creating lakes, catch basins and general cuts, which gives it the features on the fairways.

And last then you use material from those to build your greens, your tees, your mounding.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): So how exactly do Esie and his team make sure they're accurately following Tom Weiskopf's designs?

O'MAHONY: (Inaudible). I mean, Tom has -- Tom obviously will produce incredibly detailed drawings with detailed heights in it. So we come in day one and we coordinate the whole site. And that's it. I mean, we have a very -- again, with a very sophisticated GPS, we've modeled the whole site. It's in 3D. So we can go out at any point, anywhere, and follow our GPS down. And it'll tell exactly how much fill or cut has to be done right there. So it's instant. We have a tolerance of about 3 millimeters. But we don't (inaudible).

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): As with most projects, not everything has gone entirely smoothly over the past few months. Recently, a dispute between the developer and the builders stopped work for two weeks.

MCKAY: Well, it's unfortunate set of circumstances. There was a misunderstanding as to the interpretation of the contract and how payments would be affected. And it was decided that some machines should be taken offsite. And I feel (inaudible) a bit annoying. But however, I'm very pleased to say that that has now been resolved. And as you can see, we're all back on site again.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And what of the funding for the project? How is that going? They needed to raise 20 million pounds from founder members by this autumn to build the course and clubhouse.

MCKAY: Oh, I would think in the next 2-3 months it'll all be done. So right now, we'll continue to fund it privately. And then later on, we'll bring in the other funds.


MCKAY: (Inaudible) you've driven down to the bottom?


MCKAY: Drive down to the bottom and see who's six, five, six, seven.



O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Since we last filmed, the club has reduced the cost of founder membership from half a million to a quarter of a million pounds. In fact, a group of Chinese businessmen has also been investigating buying out the whole project. But as yet, nothing has come of that.

For the time being, St. Andrews International is planning a membership campaign for its small but wealthy target market.

PAUL MCPHAIL, MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR, ST. ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL: Very international people (inaudible) we see Asia, the USA and greater Europe as the main geographies. Ladies as well as gentlemen; we've been looking to have as members of the golf club. Clearly people who appreciate golf at the highest level. And clearly people who have the wherewithal to afford the membership.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Meanwhile, Esie and his team continue to build. This year's dry summer in Scotland means they're well on schedule. We'll be back in the spring to see if the first private members' club in St. Andrews is still on track.


O'DONOGHUE: Well, that's it for this edition of LIVING GOLF. Don't forget, all our reports are online and you can keep across what we're up to on Twitter. But for now, from all of us here at Gleneagles, with a year to go to the Ryder Cup, goodbye.