McIlroy prepared to play with anyone in France

Bernie McGuire
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McIlroy prepared to play with anyone in France

Rory McIlroy insists he is prepared to partner any of his now confirmed 11 colleagues if it means returning the Ryder Cup to European hands.

McIlroy remarked also there was no surprises in Captain Thomas Bjorn’s four Versailles ‘wildcard’ picks and despite Bjorn overlooking the in-form Rafa Cabrera-Bello for the out-of-form but easily more experienced Sergio Garcia.

McIlroy received a phone call from Bjorn on Tuesday morning (US time) advising of his four picks but was competing in a BMW Championship Pro-Am here in sauna-like Philadelphia when Bjorn went public with his picks.

“I feel with the five rookies we have, experience will be a big thing, especially at home and yeah, I mean I think the three, Paul (Casey), Ian (Poulter) and Henrik (Stenson), they were certain and then it was just between sort of I guess Sergio (Garcia), Rafa (Cabrera-Bello), maybe Matt Fitzpatrick, a couple of those guys,” said McIlroy.

“But at the end I think with Sergio’s record in the Ryder Cup.  It is also the intangibles and the things people don’t see what he does in the team room.

“He’s made my experiences at Ryder Cups better. He’s been a great partner for me. He’s been great in the team room. It’s just stuff that you don’t see.
“His record speaks for itself but it’s stuff people don’t see is basically what got him this wild card pick you know.”

McIlroy made his Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010 partnering fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell and with the duo an ‘item’ again in 2012.
In 2014, McIlroy and Garcia were undefeated in three matches at Gleneagles while McIlroy was also paired with Ian Poulter in Scotland.

At a hapless Hazeltine side, McIlroy went out on day one with rookie Andy Sullivan and despite losing, he teamed with Belgium Bomber, Thomas Pieters to win their three matches.

“I do feel a bit sorry for Rafa as it was it is but right now all we need to talk about is the 12 guys who made the team and getting that trophy back into European hands,” he said.

“G Mac and I had a pretty good record there for a few years and then Sergio and I gelled really well at Gleneagles and then Thomas (Pieters) and I got on famously at Hazeltine.

“So, I am happy now to play with anyone and whoever Thomas (Bjorn) wants me to play alongside.

“This is going to be a special Ryder Cup and I know in talking to Thomas how keen he is for us to all do well, so I’m sure whoever I am playing with the first few days we can hopefully add to Europe’s success.”

McIlroy tees-up in this week’s BMW Championship, the third event of the FedEx Cup Play-Off series, lying 25th on the points table and needing to be inside the top-30 on Sunday night to be assured of moving onto the Tour Championship starting September 20th.

“No, I don’t feel a sense of urgency this week as I saw some really good signs of my golf game last week,” he said.

“I just didn’t finish it off in Boston as I was 4-under through 11 on Saturday, 6-under through 13 on Sunday and I was 3-under through 9 on Monday.

“So, I had a chance to finish rounds better and I didn’t but I definitely — I’ve been able to see some really good signs of game and improvement since — even since the PGA Championship, I worked on a few things that I think have gotten a little bit better.”

McIlroy will tee-off in Philadelphia at 5.47pm Irish time in the company of Aussie Marc Leishman, and the defending BMW champion, and also American Kevin Na.

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