I hope I can live up to Francesco: Rory hopes Moliwood turns Fleetwood Mac

Ronan MacNamara

Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Rónán MacNamara in Rome

Rory McIlroy feels the 2023 European Ryder Cup team is the most ready side he has been a part of as he prepares to tee off his seventh appearance alongside Tommy Fleetwood in the anchor match of the morning foursomes.

Fleetwood Mac have been given arguably the toughest draw as they battle Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. The Americans have played together in the Presidents Cup and the 2021 Ryder Cup compiling a 6-3-0 record, while being 5-0-0 in foursomes matches as a pairing.

Schauffele and Cantlay defeated McIlroy and Ian Poulter 5&3 Friday at Whistling Straits two years ago so the Holywood man knows exactly what he is up against.

“I feel like this is as excited and as ready a group as I’ve been a part of. We’re all really relaxed, and we know the task at hand.

“It’s a really strong American team, and they have a lot of really tough partnerships. We’re going up against one of them tomorrow in Xander and Patrick. They’ve got an incredible record.”

Tommy Fleetwood will be making his second home appearance in a Ryder Cup after completing a 4-0-0 record with Francesco Molinari in a pairing famously dubbed ‘Moliwood’ and McIlroy hopes he can live up to the standards vice captain Francesco set four years ago in Paris.

“But as Tommy said, how Tommy played in France and in his last home Ryder Cup and the partnership he had — I just hope I can live up to Francesco, is really all I’m trying to do here. So if I can live up to Francesco, I think we’ll be okay.”

Fleetwood feels the four-time major champion is the ideal partner.

“Well, anybody playing with Rory is going to be a good partnership. I’m very excited to play with him. We’ve known each other for a long time, and Rory has been a huge part of my Ryder Cup journeys, been a part of both Ryder Cups that I’ve played in before, and now this one.

“And our games gel well, we get on very well. And can’t wait to play with him tomorrow.”

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