Three is the Magic Number for Rory
World Number One Rory McIlroy is excited to be representing his continent for a third time this week at Gleneagles as he embraces his role as the talisman of the European team, writes RyderCup.com’s Nick Totten.
In a line-up chocked full of experience, McIlroy may not have the most caps but after a summer of exemplary play in which he has re-established himself as the best player on the planet, there is no doubt that the US team will be gunning for the Northern Irishman when play gets under way on Friday.
With the countdown gathering pace towards the opening fourball matches, however, there was a nice moment for the players on Tuesday night as they were treated to a motivational talk from one of British football’s most successful managers, Sir Alex Ferguson.
It was a moment that McIlroy was quick to eulogise about, before revealing a similar such encounter four years ago on his debut.
“It’s great to be back at The Ryder Cup as I’ve had two goes at it already, and two great experiences in Wales and obviously last time at Medinah, with that come back and how everything unfolded on the Sunday,” said the four time Major Champion. “So I’m excited to be here and it’s been great to get back into the team room and just have fun with the guys and catch up, and we are all looking forward to a great week.
“For me, being a Manchester United fan, it was the highlight of the week so far. I was there and I was just sitting and looking up at him, and I didn’t take my eyes off him. I was sort of in this trance just listening to everything that he was saying and I’m thinking this is all the stuff that he’s probably said to Manchester United teams over the years.
“He told us a couple of stories of past experiences in some big games and big matches, and some of the players that he managed, and it was a great evening. It was a really cool thing to be a part of.
“The one thing that I remember about Celtic Manor is that we all got on a conference call with Seve, with all of us huddled around this little speakerphone and Seve rallying the troops, which was incredible.
“Those things do help, as it galvanises us and brings us together, especially something like that. Seve was back in Spain and couldn’t travel as he obviously wasn’t feeling too well at that time. So things like last night, , they definitely help. They are little details in the bigger picture, but it would be that half a per cent or that one per cent that helps us to get back that little trophy.”
Paul McGinley’s attention to detail has been well documented in the build up to the biennial match play contest, but McIlroy is insistent that the team has been keen to not do too much different this time around, having achieved such great success over the past 20 years.
Their dominance has been well documented, but any fears that the US team might lose interest if they continue to come up short to their European adversaries is wide of the mark in the 25 year old’s opinion.
“We’ve won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups so Paul was very adamant that he was not going to come in and try and change anything up,” said McIlroy, who has won five points from nine matches. “He just wanted to keep to the same blueprint, the same template, and you just try and enhance it and do what we’ve been doing but just do it a little bit better.
“That’s sort of been the plan all week as what we have been doing in previous Ryder Cups is working. We’re winning, and you don’t have to try to reinvent the wheel here. We know what we’re doing, we’ve done it before and we are going to try to do it again.
“Even if we win this week we’re still a long way behind what the US have done over the years. You look at the records, and the States won I don’t know how many in a row at one stage, so Europe has still got a long way to go to catch up with America.
“Even though we’ve been successful during the last few, I definitely don’t think it will put into any doubt the competitive nature of The Ryder Cup or people will lose interest, because it’s such a great event.
“It brings people together and the United States Team are very strong and I don’t want to get into if we win this week and what will happen. The Ryder Cup will go on whether Europe wins or loses, and it will be just as big and just as great an event either way.”