Thursday 26 April 2018

Rory McIlroy has never been so pumped up for a Ryder Cup in his life

'I've never gone into a Ryder Cup with this much excitement' insists $11.5m FedEx winner

Rory McIlroy celebrates with the FedEx Cup trophy and the Tour Championship trophy
Rory McIlroy celebrates with the FedEx Cup trophy and the Tour Championship trophy

Liam Kelly and James Corrigan

They say confidence is infectious and judging from the footage of the Europe team celebrating Rory McIlroy's stunning victory in the FedEx Cup finale, Davis Love III might just have an epidemic on his hands.

The clip, which quickly went viral, shows the packed bar at the Sofitel Hotel in Heathrow full of players and caddies, including Danny Willett, Chris Wood and captain Darren Clarke, at the airport for their early flight yesterday.

When McIlroy holes his 15-footer to see off Ryan Moore on the fourth extra hole of the Tour Championship in Atlanta and scoop a FedEx jackpot of $11.5m (Euro 10.2m) the place erupts.

McIlroy is pleased that his second win in three events had the desired effect.

"Paul McGinley (the previous captain) texted me right afterwards and said this can give a lot of momentum to Europe during the next few days," McIlroy said.

"Hopefully, in some way, it assists the team, can help us galvanise, and we can all get off on the right foot. I've never gone into a Ryder Cup with this much excitement, coming off the back of something like this.

Paul McGinley with Rory McIlroy
Paul McGinley with Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy clinched the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title (AP)

"The great thing about the FedEx Cup is you have something to play for after the Major season. I really wanted to at least give myself a chance in the play-offs.

"And then obviously, looking forward to Ryder Cup, I wanted to be in the best possible shape to try to help the team.

"That's two wins from my last three starts, and when I get into this sort of mood I usually feel I can run with it. So that bodes well for Hazeltine."

Meanwhile, USA captain Davis Love III revealed at Hazeltine yesterday that his final pick, Ryan Moore, was about to board a private jet with his family for a holiday in Las Vegas when he got the good news.

The 33-year-old from Seattle changed his plans, flew home with the family, and then travelled on down to Minneapolis.

Love also announced Bubba Watson as his fifth vice-captain. As soon as Love told Watson he would not be selected for the team, the player offered his services as a vice-captain.

Clarke will not believe his luck with McIlroy's return to form. When the Holywood man missed the cut at the US PGA Championship eight weeks ago, he was a dejected figure, referring to his performance on the greens as "pathetic".

He quickly sought out putting coach Phil Kenyon, the Lancastrian who works with seven of Clarke's team, and the recovery was on.

A wasted year could become a memorable year, particularly if he can help Europe win for a record fourth time in succession.

“You need weeks like that. I’ve always benefited from things like that in my career,” said McIlroy.

“From a low point you can work yourself back up, and assess what you need to do. I think it was blatantly obvious what I needed to do after Baltusrol, in terms of fixing my putting.

“I started on a process to do that, and I didn’t think results were going to come as quickly as they have. I’ve played really, really well, but I’ve putted well also. I’ve converted more of the chances I’ve given myself.”

McIlroy had some kind words for Moore, who pushed him all the way. The consolation for the 33-year-old was Love’s final wild card, and McIlroy believes Europe should beware.

“You look at Ryan’s matchplay record in amateur golf and some of the stuff he’s accomplished. . . he’s a great player,” McIlroy said.

“He’s gritty, he’s a competitor. He doesn’t quite have the length that some of us do, but he definitely makes up for it in different areas of his game. I’m really impressed with him.”

Irish Independent

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