Rónán MacNamara in Rome
Eight of the last nine editions of the Ryder Cup have been won by the home side but Rory McIlroy (albeit with a Peroni or two inside him) is adamant that Europe can triumph in Bethpage Black in two years time.
Two years ago the Europeans were humbled in record breaking fashion in Whistling Straits and a new generation of American talent seemed odds on to end thirty years of hurt on European soil this week in Marco Simone. Now, after a 16½-11½ triumph over the USA and a successful transition of young players, it’s Europe who will have their tails up heading to Bethpage in search of a first away win since the Miracle at Medinah.
“I’ve said this for the last probably six or seven years to anyone that will listen: I think one of the biggest accomplishments in golf right now is winning an away Ryder Cup. And that’s what we’re going to do at Bethpage,” declared McIlroy with a bang on the press conference table before being joined by his teammates.
This was a big week in the career of McIlroy, who admitted to letting himself down in Wisconsin two years ago but he delivered in spades and as Europe’s most experienced campaigner he stepped up to the plate with his best ever Ryder Cup return of four points out of five, ending the week as the top scorer in the contest.
Since winning his last major championship in 2014, the Holywood man has done pretty much everything there is to do in the game of golf but his leaders performance this week was fuelled by the hurt of Whistling Straits.
“The score line, 19-9. That hurt. It really did,” McIlroy admitted.
“Look, personally for me, I didn’t feel like I gave my best performance, and I didn’t feel like I did my part for the team. And you know, there was a few of us up here that were on that team that wanted to come back, and everyone at the start of the week was talking about, oh, do you want to get revenge, do you want to get revenge on the U.S. Team, and this wasn’t about revenge. This was about redemption and showing what we could do.
“As Rosey said, this has been a process. There’s been a plan in place. You know, we’ve known months in advance, basically, what the game plan was, how we were going to execute it, and then it just comes down to everyone getting on the golf course and being themselves and playing the way they know that they can play. And this is the result, which is amazing.
“But you know, I’ve luckily been a part of a few winning Ryder Cup teams and it feels amazing, but at the same time, being part of a losing Ryder Cup Team sucks, it really does. I’m much happier sitting up here and talking to you guys today than I was two years ago at Whistling Straits.”