It's only 13 months now until the 46-year-old leads Europe into battle against the USA in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. And it's only a week until European qualification begins at the Wales Open. The kindling is in place and McGinley is keen to get the competitive flames billowing.
The Irishman has already gazed into his opposite number's eyes when he met up for a quiet meal with the American captain, Tom Watson, during the Open at Muirfield.
By the time the pudding bowls had been licked clean, McGinley was left in no doubt about the size of the task facing him and his troops. Europe may have won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups but, like a man creeping up to a lion with a sore paw, McGinley is wary of the hurting, limping beast. Nevertheless, he is still salivating at the prospect of the transatlantic tussle and all the rivalry and tensions it stokes up.
"Tom Watson is a very, very tough man, a hard man," said McGinley, ahead of this week's Johnnie Walker Championship over the PGA Centenary course. "He's a very straight shooter and he's a guy with a huge amount of integrity and a man I've always admired and appreciated.
"After that meeting, I was left with no doubts that I'm up against it. One of the things we spoke about is that, as much as the Ryder Cup is going to be played with integrity and respect among the 24 players, there's also going to be that electricity and edge. It's important the Ryder Cup doesn't become too friendly and pally-pally. I don't think there's any danger of that and I can assure you that under our captaincy that won't happen. It's about passion. The American team is a big, wounded animal, having lost by one point in the last two Ryder Cups, and I'm very aware of that. There is no doubt that they will be enhanced and stronger with Tom Watson as captain."
While the race to make Team Europe begins next week, this gathering in the Glen could have a significant bearing on McGinley's thinking. His top global stars may not be here - they are all in America dipping their bread in the FedEx Cup gravy train - but the European captain believes this week's championship over the course that will host the 2014 Ryder Cup will provide a great opportunity for others to shine.
"It all doors open," he said, ahead of an event headlined by Ryder Cup-winning duo Paul Lawrie, the defending champion, and the world No.40, Francesco Molinari. "I'm a firm believer in horses for courses and a believer in form over a course. It's no coincidence that you see players coming back year after year to certain venues or certain courses that suit their eyes, suit their game and they play well.
"I'll be watching closely how players perform this week, especially those who have done well here in the past. That would be a big marker and that's a statistic I would look at closely when it comes to making my three picks."
As well as the players, the Johnnie Walker event will give the ever-meticulous McGinley a chance to examine the various nooks and crannies of the golf course under competitive conditions as he begins to mull over the set-up for next year's showpiece.
With all this buzzing around his head, it's a wonder he can focus on his own game. "I want to wear two hats at the same time," he added. "I'm a captain but I'm a player. This is a chance to see the course and how it's playing, what players it's suiting and what ones it is not. Maybe a certain fairway or green needs to be changed in terms of tailoring, or the rough needs to be grown more or there could be a pin placement here or there. I'll have my eyes on all these things."
With just over a year to go until the big showdown, the stepping stones towards 2014 are lying out in front of McGinley. Another significant point on that journey will be October's Seve Trophy match between GB&I and Europe in Paris. McGinley led GB&I to victory as captain in both 2009 and 2011 and has installed Sam Torrance and Jose-Maria Olazabal as respective skippers this time.
A host of Scottish players, including the likes of Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson, who played under McGinley in the 2011 event, are very much in contention to qualify for that contest. Again, the heavyweights of the European scene who are largely based in America are unlikely to move heaven and earth to make it back across the Atlantic for the Seve Trophy, but McGinley would rather see some new faces gain the valuable experience of team competition.
"I know what the Ian Poulters of the world do in team events," said the four-time tour winner, whose own McGinley Foundation was yesterday named as the fourth and final official charity of the Ryder Cup. "But it's the younger guys coming through that I'm really looking at for the Seve Trophy. Looking back to my captaincy, I had Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell and I can assure you that it was a big, big step for them to play team golf at a professional level before they went on to the Ryder Cup.
"It's a really good stepping stone. Even if the top players don't come to the Seve Trophy, I'm not going to be that bothered because I'm more concerned with the younger guys getting experience and moving on."