McIlroy feeling refreshed ahead of Ryder Cup stint

Rory McIlroy today admitted that his latest stint in America took its toll on him and he needed to get back to Europe.

The 21-year-old Northern Irish star makes his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor next week and, having finished third in the last two majors, is seen as a key man in Colin Montgomerie’s plans.

“I was not my normal self in America the last couple of weeks,” said McIlroy, who might well lead things off for Europe alongside his compatriot and close friend Graeme McDowell.

“I needed to refresh my mind and I definitely feel I will be going into the Ryder Cup in a better frame.”

It was McIlroy’s original hope that he would be playing this week in Atlanta in the final leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs.

But after finishes of 56th, 37th and 37th in the first three events of the series he failed to be among the 30 qualifiers for the Tour Championship, and now views that as a blessing in disguise.

The world number eight had played six of the previous seven weeks and added: “I’m definitely going to look at my schedule.

“I’ve been talking to Chubby (manager Andrew Chandler) about it this morning and we’re going to look at where I went wrong, then set a better schedule.

“It’s been great having the last week at home. That’s when I get my best work done and I’m very happy with how it all went.

“Now I’m concentrating on getting my game in the best shape possible. If I can do that it’s half the battle.

“Obviously it’s my first experience (of a Ryder Cup) and one I’m going to try to enjoy. Hopefully the adrenaline will make me play well.

“I’m going to be very nervous over my first tee shot, but once you get that out of the way all you are thinking about is winning your match.”

McIlroy’s enthusiasm for the match was called into question when he described it as “an exhibition” last year.

But although he still puts success in majors and even world championships higher on his career wish list, he is still “up for the cup.”

Winner of four points out of five for Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe in the Vivendi Trophy last September, he said: “I sort of forgot how good it was. We won and it was great to share the win with 11 other guys.

“Next week is going to be fantastic. It’s definitely not an exhibition, it’s a great spectacle. I said exhibition last year when I was not focused on a team event.”

Three of his victories at the Vivendi Trophy came with McDowell as his partner and all of them were achieved going out first.

Asked about the likelihood of them being put together again he added: “I’m not sure. I will have a better sense when we get there (on Monday).

“It worked well last year and I’d like to, but whatever Monty thinks I don’t mind.

“I’m very close to ’GMac’ and I think we would both love to partner each other. Hopefully we’ll get a couple (of games) and try to make the most of it.”

McIlroy is one of six uncapped players, the most Europe have had since 1999, but he points out:

“There’s a lot of experience with Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ian Poulter and GMac’s played one.

“Then you have the vice-captains (Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn) and obviously Monty. It’s great to have people like that in and around the team.

“They will have a big role to play. I don’t know how I am going to be in the team room, but I will definitely be listening to those guys.

“Martin Kaymer is a rookie in the Ryder Cup, but a major champion. It’s not like it’s my first experience of a big event. I think we will be fine.”

McDowell, meanwhile, has commented on McIlroy’s assertion to Press Association Sport that he would rather have World Golf Championship success.

On talkSPORT radio the US Open champion said: “Rory is an extremely ambitious kid and he’s all about major championships and WGCs.

“I think he’ll have a different respect for the Ryder Cup next weekend when he gets out there and feels it and understands it.

“Of course it’s different from a major and a WGC – it’s not an individual win - it’s just something a bit special.

“It’s always been something that’s pretty close to my heart. I think when Rory gets out there and feels it next week he’ll maybe have a different view on it.”

More in this Section

How have Leicester got things so right this season?How have Leicester got things so right this season?

Football rumours from the mediaFootball rumours from the media

World Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in DubaiWorld Para Athletics Championships: Waiting game pays off for Niamh McCarthy in Dubai

Keena’s heart for Ireland causeKeena’s heart for Ireland cause


Aileen Lee meets Christina Kenny - co-founder and design director of Lamb Design - to talk about her work and inspirations.Christina Kenny of Lamb Design: ‘I love bringing the outside in and inside out’

Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her career and the worth of luxury fastion. By Paul McLachen.From Marc Jacobs to her own label, Tyrone designer Sharon Wauchob on her life in fashion

The recent sentencing of two teenage boys for the murder of Ana Kriégel has once again brought the issue of pornography into public discourse. The details of the case, which are finally coming into public knowledge, illuminate some very worrying trends that are pervasive in the modern adolescent world and as parents and indeed as a society we can no longer languish in complacency.Learning Points: Hardcore porn can pollute our children’s minds

HUSBAND and wife Justin and Jenny Green run Ballyvolane House, in Castlelyons, Co Cork. The mansion and former dairy farm, which was built in 1728, is where Justin grew up. Raised to Scottish parents in Hong Kong, Jenny met fellow hotelier Justin while working in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Having worked in the UK and Bali, they returned to manage Ballyvolane House, as an Irish country house, in 2004.Parents for the Planet: Green family has greener outlook at country house

More From The Irish Examiner