A McIlroy year
Confident Northern Irishman says time is ripe to set an example in his third Ryder Cup
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is currently enjoying his best year yet as a professional golfer, wants to crown a glorious year by driving the European team to victory in the Ryder Cup next month.
The biennial tournament, which pits players from Europe against players from the US, tees off at Gleneagles Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland, on September 25.
The 25-year-old Northern Ireland player was this week drafted into the European squad following a splendid run in which he won back-to-back majors. He won the British Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, northern England, on July 20 before claiming the US PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, last Sunday by a one-stroke margin over veteran American Phil Mickelson.
McIlroy’s victory last Sunday was remarkable in that he recovered from being a stroke behind American Rickie Fowler on the 10th hole to win.
Between lifting the Claret Jug and the Wanamaker Trophy, McIlroy also won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC in Akron, Ohio, a fortnight ago on his way to making it a hat-trick of victories.
Having chalked up an impressive winning streak so far this year, the Northern Irishman believes the time is ripe for him to handle the pressure of the Ryder Cup.
McIlroy, who has joined Tiger Woods by winning the three majors at the age of 25, is hoping to make a mark in his third Cup appearance.
“I am aware that I will be a target of captain Tom Watson’s team. I think not just how the Americans view me, but how I am viewed in my own team. I am going to be a leader who drives us forward,” McIlroy was quoted as saying by The Guardian this week. The European team will be captained by Irishman Paul McGinley. McIlroy’s form appears to have been boosted by his split from Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki after three years and no one can dispute his declaration that 2014 has been a great year. But whether he can continue to exploit his rich vein of form at the Ryder Cup remains to be seen.
With the organisers pulling out all the stops to secure his signature, the Northern Irishman is also tipped to be among the glittering array of stars who will tee off at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City in December.
IRISH LUCK Rory McIlroy