In Focus

‘Rory McIlroy showed what the Ryder Cup really means’

It was an emotional week for the Northern Irishman as Europe lost heavily to the USA

If you ever doubted whether Rory McIlroy cared about the Ryder Cup, doubt no more, said Todd Kelly on Golfweek. McIlroy, and Team Europe, may have had a torrid time as Team USA stormed to a record 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits, but the pride of playing in golf’s big event was clear for all to see following the Northern Irishman’s singles match on Sunday. 

McIlroy’s excellent Ryder Cup career was “derailed” as he “struggled mightily” on Friday and Saturday, said Sports Illustrated. He lost both Friday matches and was left out of Saturday’s morning foursomes before “stumbling through a third loss” in the afternoon session. 

In the Sunday singles, McIlroy finally got a point on the board for Europe as he beat Olympic champion Xander Schauffele 3&2 in the opening match of the day.

After one of his most difficult weeks in golf, McIlroy had finally won a match, AP said. Then during the post-match interviews his face reddened and his eyes welled up with tears. “To call it a bittersweet finish would probably be too kind.” 

‘An absolute privilege’

Although it was a tough weekend for McIlroy he “just can’t wait to get another shot” at the Ryder Cup. “I love being a part of this team, I love my team-mates so much, and I should have done more for them this week,” he told Sky Sports. “It is by far the best experience in golf, and I hope the boys and girls watching this today will aspire to play in this event, or the Solheim Cup, because there’s nothing better than being a part of a team, especially with the bond that we have in Europe.”

Speaking to the Golf Channel, McIlroy again admitted he was “extremely disappointed” that he couldn’t contribute more to Europe’s bid to retain the trophy they had won in France in 2018. However, despite his form in the opening two days, he said it was “an absolute privilege” to be part of the competition. 

“It’s been a tough week, but the more I play in this event, the more I realise that it’s the best event in golf, bar none,” he said. “I love being a part of it. I can’t wait to be a part of many more. I don’t think there’s any greater privilege to be a part of one of these teams, European or American. It’s an absolute privilege. I’ve got to do this six times, and they have always been the greatest experiences of my career.

“I have never really cried or got emotional over what I’ve done as an individual. I couldn’t give a s***. But this team, and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio [Garcia] break records, to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his Ryder Cup debut. All that, it’s phenomenal and I’m so happy to be a part of it. As I said I’m disappointed that I didn’t contribute more this week, but you know, in two years’ time, we’ll go again and we’ll give it another go again.” 

Despite being on the losing side and having struggled with his own game, McIlroy showed at the Ryder Cup what playing for pride - and the team - is all about, said Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “McIlroy gave us a brief glimpse into what this event really means, and why it was such a privilege to see it in our own backyard.” 

After their thumping victory the US will defend the Ryder Cup at the next event in 2023, which will be held at the Marco Simone course in Rome, Italy. 

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