McGinley's slump continues

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The Independent Online

"Now that he is over trying, he may stop over-trying," was Padraig Harrington's summing up of his compatriot here yesterday and if that, on first reading, makes little sense then very little does about Paul McGinley at the moment.

For starters, the Irishman should have had a smile the size of O'Connell Street on the second day of the BMW International Open when his Ryder Cup qualification was all but confirmed. As Harrington said to him when they stepped off the 18th green, "Paul, it's over - you're in." But if he expected his great friend to break into a jig and say "Yeah, you're right. Who cares if I missed the cut or not?", he was mistaken. These particular Irish eyes were scowling.

"He is taking it a bit too much to heart - he's over-trying," said his playing partner Harrington. "He's had nine months of a noose round his neck and I think Monday will be a massive difference when he's in. The game's definitely beating him up at the moment. Golf's winning."

Indeed, it looks like it is six-up with seven remaining. And yesterday saw another McGinley concession when he comfortably missed the cut to continue his woeful run. During a year in which he has just two top-10s, the stress of the qualifying race has seemingly ruined the mighty fine golfer of 2005. McGinley is refusing to put his slump down to that, though.

"What does Harrington know?" he asked, starting with a joke but then rapidly going downbeat. "I hope to God that's the case and it'll all be fixed on Monday. But while it may look like tension it honestly doesn't feel like it. I'm just not playing well, I've lost confidence and I've got to sort it out."

McGinley flew back to his Surrey home last night to start the rebuilding work immediately by having a session with his coach, Bob Torrance, today. Woosnam will say amen to that, just as he was to the threat of Jose Maria Olzabal being knocked out of the automatic standings.

With John Bickerton missing the cut and Paul Broadhurst at one-under, surely too far behind the nine-under pace of Sweden's Martin Erlandsson, only Thomas Bjorn and Johan Edfors can give Woosnam a wildcard headache by taking the last qualifying place off Olazabal but at six back and five back respectively they are faced with skyscraping orders.

Olazabal's agent, Sergio Gomez, yesterday claimed that the Spaniard is annoyed with Colin Montgomerie for querying why he was absent from the final qualifying event, although Woosnam will not be distracted by such a sideshow.

The Welshman will place far more emphasis on the form of David Howell on eight-under, Luke Donald and Paul Casey on seven-under, Montgomerie, himself, on six-under, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson on five-under and Harrington on four-under. His lads are starting to look likely again.