Rory expects rookies to shine

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Rory McIlroy insists Europe’s rookies will not be fazed when they make their Ryder Cup debuts at Celtic Manor next week.

Rory McIlroy insists Europe’s rookies will not be fazed when they make their Ryder Cup debuts at Celtic Manor next week.

Colin Montgomerie’s team head into the clash with six rookies in their ranks, one more than their American counterparts.

McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari and Peter Hanson are the new boys in the European side, but McIlroy is confident all already have enough big-game experience to thrive in Wales.

“We’ve got a few rookies on the team, but the likes of myself and Martin Kaymer – who is a major champion – we are rookies, but we have a lot of experience in the big tournaments,” McIlroy told Sky Sports News. “Hopefully that can stand us in good stead.”

Despite hosts Europe heading into the match as clear favourites with the bookmakers, McIlroy is expecting a hard-fought and tight match.

Indeed, the 21-year-old expects the Americans to adapt easily to the 2010 Course at Celtic Manor, although he admitted the weather in Wales could play into Europe’s hands.

“I think the conditions can be more of an advantage than the course,” he continued.

“It’s quite an American-style golf course. The Americans are coming and they’ve been playing well so it will be a very tough match, but Europe have got a very strong team and I’m excited about their prospects.”

European hopes have been boosted by world number three Lee Westwood declaring himself fit for the match following concerns over a calf injury.

McIlroy claims he has no worries about the Englishman’s durability, stating: “A 75 percent Lee Westwood is still pretty good! He’ll be better than that, he’s definitely feeling a lot better, hasn’t had any pain in his leg for the last three or four weeks.

“I watched him hitting the ball yesterday (Monday) and he seemed to be hitting it alright and once he gets into it he’ll be fine.”

Of his own game, he added: “I’m practising hard and trying to get my game into good shape going into the Ryder Cup.

“I want to go there playing well and give myself the best possible opportunity to score some points for the team.”

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