Rory McIlroy says US antics put fire in our bellies as Europe regain Ryder Cup

todayOctober 1, 2023 3

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Rory McIlroy says US antics put ‘fire in our bellies’ as Europe regain Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy fought back tears of joy instead of despair after contributing a career-best performance to help Europe regain the Ryder Cup in Rome.

McIlroy’s singles victory over Sam Burns ensured he won four matches in the biennial contest for the first time as Luke Donald’s side inflicted a seventh straight away defeat on the United States.

Donald, who played on four winning sides and was ranked world number one, hailed the win as the biggest achievement of his career.

“This is the best. This is why the Ryder Cup is so special to me and these guys, because of these moments,” Donald said.

Viktor Hovland had put the first point on the board with victory over Collin Morikawa before Jon Rahm birdied the 18th to snatch half a point from the opening contest with world number one Scottie Scheffler.

Patrick Cantlay then held off a battling Justin Rose to narrow the gap, but McIlroy defeated World Match Play champion Sam Burns 3&1 and Tyrrell Hatton beat Open champion Brian Harman 3&2 to take Europe to within half a point of glory.

They were made to wait as victories for Brooks Koepka, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele kept the contest alive, but when Tommy Fleetwood won the 16th to go two up with two to play against Rickie Fowler, he was guaranteed the half-point required and the celebrations could begin.

Fleetwood duly completed the win and Robert MacIntyre also defeated US Open champion Wyndham Clark before Shane Lowry halved his match with Jordan Spieth to make the final score 16.5 to 11.5.

“I really didn’t want it to come down to one of us at the back,” Fleetwood said. I’m quite relieved, I have to say.

“I’m just so happy to play a part in it, although it was a bit bigger part than I thought it was when I saw the draw. The landscape has changed a bit for Team Europe but I couldn’t wish for a better bunch of people to do this with.

“It’s been so amazing. We are just one gigantic family and the bonds you make last a lifetime.”

McIlroy felt he had let his team-mates down at Whistling Straits after suffering three heavy defeats before beating Schauffele in the singles, after which he broke down in tears during a television interview and admitted he could not wait for a shot at redemption in Rome.

McIlroy won his first three matches at Marco Simone but lost the final fourball on Saturday evening and was involved in an angry exchange with Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava over his celebrations on the 18th green which spilled over into the car park.

“Walking off the 18th yesterday was probably the angriest I’ve ever been in my career,” McIlroy told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I said it to the US guys, I thought it was disgraceful what went on and I made that clear.

“I needed that to fuel me today and not let it take away from what has been a great week. I felt like I used it to my advantage and came out with a different level of focus and determination and in a way it gave the whole team a bit of fire in our bellies.”

McIlroy had to fight back tears before he added: “I just wanted to win another point for Europe. Ever since Whistling Straits I was so disappointed in my performance there, so to come here and get four points for the team means a lot to me.

“It’s a great bounce-back after Whistling Straits. The team we have is incredible. It’s a young team that I think will be around for a long time.”

Rahm admitted he was extremely aware of the significance of his match against Scheffler, who had suffered a 9&7 thrashing alongside Koepka in the Saturday foursomes.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to look but it’s hard not to see the scoreboards,” said Rahm, who two-putted from 90 feet for birdie on the 18th after Scheffler hit a clumsy chip over the green.

“I’m sitting looking at my putt (on 18) and the scoreboards are right in my way. So it’s hard not to catch yourself lingering.

“But I think I did a really good job at the end. Seeing those scores, I refocused on the task at hand and played good at end. Too bad it wasn’t good enough to win but I’ll take a half.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

Written by: admin

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