Rory McIlroy feels he got too emotional at his last Ryder Cup in the USA and won’t be as animated as he was on Sunday five years ago.
McIlroy lost to Patrick Reed in singles at Hazeltine in a cut and thrust match but he admits he learned a key lesson that day.
‘Playing all five, it’s a lot of golf’
“I certainly will try to not be as animated and I’ll try to conserve some energy,” he said. “It’s a long week. Whether I play all five (sessions) again, we’ll see, but it’s a lot of golf.
“It’s a lot of energy just playing, then trying to beat who you’re playing against. If you try to beat the crowd, as well, that seems like a bit of an impossible task.
“I will try my best for this team and I’ll try to play the best golf I possibly can, but I sort of learned quite a few things from 2016. I hit a wall on the back nine against Patrick (Reed) that day, and I want to make sure that that doesn’t happen again.
“The most animated I’ve been in my career has been at Ryder Cups. It just brings something out of you that you don’t get playing individually.
“There’s something more there when you’re playing as part of a team, and everything you do doesn’t just affect yourself but affects the other 11 players, the captain, the vice captains, all the support team.
“A lot of emotion comes out, but you still have to try to control that, as well.”
‘There’s a lot of continuity in our team’
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 21, 2021
It’s now a decade since Rory made his Ryder Cup debut as a 20-year-old at Celtic Manor, and he’s quite certain why Europe have been successful in that time.
“The Ryder Cup has got bigger, but some things haven’t changed for us as Europe,” he said. “There’s a lot of continuity in our team, and I think that’s been part of the reason for our success.
“Paris was the biggest yet. I don’t feel like playing away is getting any easier. If anything it’s probably getting a little tougher.”
The inspiration in the European team room is always the same, he thinks.
“We play for each other,” he said. “I think that’s the best thing that you can do. You play for the guys that are beside you.
“You play for everyone that’s helping our team try to win this week. You’re obviously playing for your country and your continent and I guess your Tour in some way, as well.
“But most of all, we play for each other.”
The numbers are the theme for Europe this week
— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) September 21, 2021
This week’s theme for Europe is the 164 players who have played for Europe, with the team video shown on Monday night released on social media and featured extensively in the team room.
“We have this thing this week where we’ve all been given a player number, so there’s been 164 players that have played for the European Ryder Cup team, or GB&I way back in the day.
“That’s a pretty small group of players. I’m No. 144; I think Lee (Westwood) is No. 118. But then you just look at all the players before you, and you look at Bernd Wiesberger who’s making his debut this year who’s No. 164.
— Padraig Harrington (@padraig_h) September 21, 2021
“It’s a small collection of people that have played for Europe in the Ryder Cup. That’s been one of our big focus points this week. Just being here is very special and being part of a European team.”
“The video for us last night to put it into context. 570 people have been into space. I think over 5,000 people have climbed Everest. 225 have won a men’s major.
“When you sort of break it down like that it’s a pretty small group and it’s pretty cool.”