Q: Perhaps the 2010 Ryder Cup assistant’s magic will rub off on you (Björn, Clarke and Garcia in 2011).
JMO: Well, hopefully so! We’ll see. Those guys are playing well. Darren won the Open last year, Thomas won two tournaments in a row, won three tournaments during the season. Sergio got his game back winning two tournaments in a row in Spain. He seems to be in a better frame of mind on the golf course, which is, I think, very important. I think that’s the only thing important in his case, because from tee to green, he’s a great player, and as soon as that ball drops in the hole quick enough, the results are going to be there.
But it’s not just them. There are a lot of guys that are doing their homework. You know, Rory, Luke, Lee, Martin Kaymer. There is a bunch of players that are doing well. It’s true that it’s early days, but hopefully as you said, the magic that was there at Celtic Manor will follow me in 2012.
Q: It’s too early to tell what the team will look like, but with Luke, Rory, Lee and Martin at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, it’s a formidable lineup already.
JMO: I think European golf is going through a golden stage in its history. It’s similar to the late 80s, early 90s when we had Seve and Woosie, Nick, Bernhard, Sandy, the Big Five.
Q: And yourself.
JMO: In a little way, yeah. I think we are going through a very sweet moment. It’s true that for the Ryder Cup, it will be important to have those players, but what comes that week is that those players play their game and play well enough because that week is the one that counts for me if you like as Ryder Cup captain!
Q: You’re a veteran of The Ryder Cup as a player but sit- ting in the captain’s chair, can you tell us how the respon- sibilities impact on you this far out?
JMO: Well, this far out, you know you have to be careful on what you say, what you do. There is a lot of media attention on whatever you do. For instance, when we went to Chicago last September for the “Year Out” function, the media atten- tion was huge there. You had things to do [such as] hit a shot from the 16th floor of Trump Tower which was very windy, and actually I think Davis and myself were under a lot of pressure from the fire department chief! But, you know, up to now, the responsibility has been mainly (except that week) off the course doing meetings, making decisions regarding clothing and golf bags and attire and things like that.
But I think as the day gets closer, obviously that attention will change from being outside the golf course to the golf course.