Rory McIlroy says that winning the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this week would be the ‘icing on the cake’ of a remarkable summer.
Appearing on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday show, the Northern Irishman shared his excitement ahead of his third Ryder Cup and insisted that, after winning the Open, PGA Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to re-affirm his position at the top of the world rankings, a successful European defence of the famous gold trophy would cap off his season.
“Personally, for me, it would be the icing on the cake,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s already been a fantastic year. Everyone gets so excited about the Ryder Cup and everyone gets involved. Everyone gets so passionate about it. The public gets more passionate about it than majors or individual tournaments so it’s great to be a part of. I’ve been a part of two winning European teams so it would be great to be a part of a third one this week.”
McIlroy also singled out fellow 25-year-old Rickie Fowler as the man to watch in the US side this week. The pair locked horns in the final group of the final round at the Open at Royal Liverpool this summer before Fowler again ran Rory close at Valhalla during last month’s PGA Championship.
“Rickie is going to be a real talisman for the American team,” said Rory. “Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley. Phil as well, he’s the elder statesman. Jim Furyk, too, he’s been playing well. Even though everyone has been talking about European favourites, they have a very, very strong team. We can’t be complacent at all. We have to go out there and play as hard as we can do.
“They’ll be up for it. They’ve lost four of the last five and especially having Tom Watson as a captain. That will galvanise them anyway, that will bring them together, having a legend like that leading them, so that will be tough.”
“The best experiences in my golf career have been in the Ryder Cup." - Rory McIlroy
Given his outstanding form this summer, McIlroy is expected to play a big part this week and, whilst it is expected that he will partner close friend and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, in spite of their on-going off-course issues, the four-time major champ insists he would gladly play with anybody.
“I’m very lucky in that I get along with a lot of the guys,” said McIlroy. “Graeme McDowell is a big friend of mine. Poulter I’ve played with before. Sergio Garcia is another one, we’ve got a good chemistry, so there’s a few guys that I can play with.
“You might see a few interesting pairings next week. I’m not going to give too much away here. We’ve good a good mix of guys; some rookies and some with lots of experience so I think the pairings we have will be very strong.”
Before playing in his first Ryder Cup in 2010, Rory had dismissed the match as “an exhibition” and insisted that playing in it wasn’t a priority for him. However, that has all changed now.
“It’s way better to win as part of a team,” he added. “The best experiences in my golf career have been in the Ryder Cup, being able to celebrate with all these guys. That’s something we don’t get to do every week. It’s great to celebrate with your friends and family whenever you win an individual tournament but being able to do it with all your teammates is very special.”
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