Tony Jacklin has a practice round prior to 2007 Open at Carnoustie, in Scotland on July 17, 2007Tony Jacklin has a practice round prior to 2007 Open at Carnoustie, in Scotland on July 17, 2007 (AFP Photo/Paul Ellis)
Gleneagles (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Tony Jacklin deserves much of the credit for Europe turning the tables on the United States in the Ryder Cup over the last 20 years, according to current team skipper Paul McGinley.
Jacklin was the non-playing captain of Europe in four consecutive Ryder Cups from 1983 to 1989.
He had a 2 1/2-1 1/2 win-loss record, captaining his men to their first victory for 28 years in 1985, and to their first ever victory in the United States in 1987.
That opened up an unprecedented era of European domination of the event with European teams winning seven out of the last nine and five out of the last six.
"Tony Jacklin started that," McGinley replied when asked to explain how Europe had managed to clamp a straglehold on the Americans.
"He moved things on to a professional level. He flew Concorde for the first time. He made sure The European Tour opened the coffers and invested in the players.
"He made sure they wore cashmere sweaters and their clothes fitted. He made sure he had everything they needed to have.
"So he started that template. And what's happened -- other captains come in after Tony, and they see what he's done, they see things that work, the little things like the cashmere and the Concorde, obviously continued.
"And it's just a ball rolling and hopefully getting better and better, particularly as we're winning."
McGinley said that in the months leading up to Gleneagles he turned to many people for advice but none more so than Jacklin.
"He's a guy I've spoken to at length, really picked his brain and really see where he's coming from, and I learned a lot from having chats with him," he said.
Another hero of McGinley from his teenage days just happened to be his rival captain in Gleneagles, Tom Watson, who at 65 years old is the oldest Ryder Cup captain ever.
A college student at San Diego in the 1980s, McGinley idolised the American and used to skip work to watch him play practice rounds whenever he could.
Now though, he says that Watson, and what he is doing, is the furthest thing from his mind.
"He's a guy I have a huge respect for as a human being as well as everything else, as well as his playing record as I got to know him," he said.
"In terms of what he's been doing this week, I haven't really been paying attention.
"I'm more concerned with our team. I've got a lot of things on my agenda, I have 12 guys going on, 12 caddies, five vice captains, a lot of people, a lot of information that I'm processing at the moment.
"In regards to what Tom is doing with the team, I don't even know what groups he's going out with.
"I just know he's going to make some good decisions and he's going to have a strong American team out there and we are going to be prepared for that."