McIlroy savours his first Ryder victory
Rory McIlroy experienced emotions from “opposite ends of the spectrum” after the 1st win of his Ryder Cup career.
Rory McIlroy admitted he had experienced emotions from “opposite ends of the spectrum” after securing the first win of his Ryder Cup career at Celtic Manor on Sunday.
McIlroy holed the winning putt on the 17th green to secure a 3&1 victory for himself and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell over foursomes opponents Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan.
And it was in stark contrast to yesterday’s events on the same green when a missed McIlroy putt meant their foursomes clash against United States rivals Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar went to the 18th before the European pair eventually lost.
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie gave both players a pep-talk before the match’s third session started late yesterday afternoon, and it had the desired effect as their win hauled Europe level at 6-6.
“It is complete opposite ends of the spectrum,” admitted 21-year-old Ryder Cup rookie McIlroy.
“We had a job to do going down the last yesterday, and we needed a good tee shot on the last and needed a win on that hole to get something out of the match. We were not able to do that.
“Today felt great. To get that first win under my belt in the Ryder Cup is fantastic, and to do it alongside this guy (McDowell) is even more special.
“He’s been great for me this week. He has made my life a lot easier, you know, walking the fairways with him.”
McIlroy and McDowell played three matches together, winning one, halving one and losing one, suggesting it could be the start of a prodigious Ryder Cup partnership.
“At the start of the week, there was no-one else I really wanted to play with. You know, he was the guy I wanted to partner,” added McIlroy.
“It was great to get three games with him. Even the match that we halved and the match we lost, we both played very, very well.
“To play with one of your best friends in the Ryder Cup is very special. Hopefully, we can have a few more Ryder Cups in us and we can play alongside each other again.”
Reigning US Open champion McDowell also reflected on yesterday’s loss to Cink and Kuchar – and stressed how important it was they hit back at the earliest opportunity.
“Rory and I walked off the golf course feeling disappointed yesterday because we felt like we were winning that game. We were in pole position on 16 and lost the hole, and inside them on 17 and lost the hole,” he said.
“Monty has been as fired up as anyone on this team this week.
“Between sessions yesterday, he asked us to go and do a job, and we did that. And then last night, we were very keen to make sure that we didn’t rest on our laurels.”
As for his partnership with McIlroy, McDowell added: “We have been talking about this for a couple of years.
“We have spent a lot of time together, and we have been joking around about winning Ryder Cup points.
“I think we both realise now how difficult winning a point is in this tournament, and we certainly experienced that the last couple of days.
“I regard Rory as one of the best players I’ve seen in the world.
“I am going to miss him tomorrow (in the singles), but I know he will be doing his job and I will be doing mine.
“We have had three great games. A point and a half from three, considering the type of matches we were involved in, we are pretty happy with that.”
McIlroy, meanwhile, might even leave Celtic Manor tomorrow with a new nickname.
Asked if he would rather be G Mac (his nickname) or Big Mac, McDowell replied: “I would certainly rather be G Mac than Big Mac. I know I could do with losing a little bit of weight.
And McIlroy added: “Does that make me Wee Mac?”
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