Rory McIlroy is hoping a friendship that began eight years ago in Egypt will see he and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen gel successfully in their opening Ryder Cup ‘Fourball’ showing.
McIlroy & Oleson as they were announced as a pairing for day one / Image from Getty Images
Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn surprised many in selecting McIlroy and Olesen, who is making his European Team debut, as the second pairing of the first day at Le Golf National.
McIlroy and Olsen will tackle the USA duo of World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in teeing-off at 7.25am Irish time.
“Looking at the matchups, I think all four matches are going to be fantastic,” said McIlroy.
“I’ve played Rickie a lot in Ryder Cup over the past few years, so it’s a comfortable match for both of us. Thorbjørn and Dustin know each other just a little bit through their management group, so it will be a comfortable grouping.”
“Especially being first Ryder Cup match for Thorbjørn, the more comfortable it can be, the better. Just excited to get going tomorrow and can’t wait to partner up with this man and try to bring a point home for Europe.”
McIlroy & Oleson first met when McIlroy chose to the contest the 2010 Egypt Open on the secondary Challenge Tour.
“Thorbjørn and I have known each other for a lot of years as we first played together in Egypt in 2010, which is a long time ago,” said McIlroy.
“But I think our game styles are pretty similar. We both hit the ball a long way and we sort of see the game similarly, and it’s about chemistry, and as as well as being one of the more experienced players, I wanted to not necessarily take a rookie under my wing, but if I was called upon to play with someone with a little less experience, I was all for that.”
“I think it’s going to be a good experience for Thorbjørn to go out there tomorrow morning and experience the first tee. I just can’t wait to go out with him and try to win a point for Europe.
Olesen will be among the rookies in Bjorn’s team who will be teeing-up in the first session but McIlroy has confidence in his own partner and the other rookies.
“They maybe rookies but really they’re not rookies,” said McIlroy.
“They know the golf course so well and Thorbjørn has played the golf course in the French Open, so it’s not anything new.”
And Olesen, a winner this year of the Italian Open that secured his place in the side, is looking forward to teaming with the now five-time Ryder Cup capped McIlroy.
“It’s nice to be alongside Rory, he is very experienced,” said Olesen.
“That will make it a little bit easier. Yeah, I’ll be nervous, but I’ll embrace it. It’s a great feel. I’m looking forward to it.”