US Open champ Wyndham Clark is very much rocking the pre-Ryder Cup ‘war of words’ boat by declaring how much he wants to beat Rory McIlroy and also “have a piece” of Viktor Hovland at next week’s bienniel showdown in Rome.
Clark denied McIlroy by a shot to capture a first major at LA Country Club in June and now the confident US Ryder Cup rookie wants to again prove he’s got McIlroy’s number by facing him head-to-head in the Italian capital.
“That is exactly who I want, I would love to play Rory,” said Clark, speaking with the Golf Channel
“I have the utmost respect for Rory – he is one of our great ambassadors of our game. He is obviously one of the best of all time and he is still going so he can be that. I have tons of respect for Rory and because of that respect, I also want to beat him. I like to think I am better than him and I want to prove that.
“I would love to play Rory, I think that would be really fun for the fans too. Long-ball hitters. We have similar games in that respect. It would be a little bit of David and Goliath. I am hoping to get that chance. Regardless of who I play, I am really excited. But that one would be a lot of fun.”
The 29-year-old Arizona-based Clark also spoke of how much he wants to “have a piece” of Viktor Hovland, the 2023 FedEx Cup champion.
“Any of those guys. One guy I would love to have a piece of, because the one loss I had in college was to him, is Viktor Holland. He clipped me on the 18th hole. If there is any competition or anyone I would like another chance at, it would be Viktor,” said Clark.
“And Jon Rahm. I live in Arizona and so does Jon. We play together – there is always trash talk and even when we are having a friendly match we want to make sure we don’t lose to each other, even if we lose to the other guys in the group. We don’t want to lose to each other. Any of those guys would be a lot of fun to play against.”
Most of the USA team have not played a tournament since the Tour Championship ended on August 27. But nine made the trip over to the Marco Simone Golf Club around a fortnight ago.
And Clark, who said he has been practicing with team-mate Max Homa, claimed: “I like to think we are going to be really fresh. The guys on the European team played all of the playoffs and played one or two more events.
“I think if anything they might be a little gassed. I am hoping it works in our favour and we are really fresh and excited to be there. Hopefully when it comes to singles, we will be the fresher team and can pull it out.”