Paul McGinley played Gaelic soccer, but after a knee injury when he was 18, he devoted himself only to golf. In 1989 came the first success at the Irish Amateur Close Championship. Two years later he won the South of Ireland Championship and was selected to contest the Walker Cup, where Phil Mickelson's USA beat the British-Irish side 14-10.
At the end of the year he turned pro and the following season he participated in the European Tour. He came close to winning the 1993 French Open, when he lost the play-off against Costantino Rocca, and at the 1994 Mediterranean Open, where he surrendered to José María Olazábal always in the playoffs. He took his first European Tour title in 1996, at the Hohe Brücke Open, now called the Austrian Open again. Together with Pádraig Harrington he won the World Cup with Ireland.
His third personal success dates back to 2001, when he won the fifth hole of the play-off at the Welsh Open. The following year, in his first Ryder Cup appearance, he earned the half point needed to win Europe in singles against Jim Furyk.
He achieved his best finish in a major at the 2004 PGA Championship, when he finished sixth. But he played his best season in 2005, when he won the Volvo Masters and finished second in three other tournaments, thus entering the top 20 in the world rankings and finishing third on the Order of Merit. He later placed second at the 2008 KLM Open.