Ryder Cup not a ‘huge goal’ – Rory
Rory McIlroy, paired with Monty on Thursday and Friday, says the Ryder Cup is “an exhibition”, and isn’t a “huge goal” for him.
Rory McIlroy and Colin Montgomerie, playing partners the next two days at The 3 Irish Open, have expressed totally opposite views about next year’s Ryder Cup.
If European captain Montgomerie wanted to hear that the 20-year-old was already bubbling with excitement about the possibility of winning his first cap at Celtic Manor, then he could not have been more wrong.
“It’s not a huge goal of mine,” said the Northern Irish youngster. “It’s an exhibition at the end of the day. In the big scheme of things it’s not that important an event for me.”
He even added that if come the final stretch of the year-long qualifying race he was struggling for points he would not be adding events to improve his chances.
“If I play well enough I play well enough. And if I don’t, then so be it.”
Montgomerie, on the other hand, stated that taking the trophy back off the Americans would be the greatest achievement of his career.
“It’s not an exhibition and it never will be,” he commented. “It’s a very unique, special event and much more nerve-wracking than a major.
“When you play in it you want to be there again and again.”
Montgomerie does not want, however, to be seen as being at loggerheads with a player he described as “one of Europe’s best young talents for many a year”.
He made a request to reporters. “Please don’t say that Monty and Rory are having a war here. I haven’t said that.
“I haven’t heard what Rory said, so please don’t start a big war.
“Rory will understand when – and it’s not an ‘if’ – he is a Ryder Cup player. He’ll understand the pressures involved and the whole scenario of the Ryder Cup will hit him very hard.
“If he’s qualified or necessitates a pick I would definitely speak to every player as to what to expect.”
Despite his views at this stage McIlroy still expects to “relish every moment of it” should he play and adds: “Obviously I’ll try my best for the team – but I’m not going to go running around fist-pumping.”
Meanwhile, the 45-year-old Scot declared himself perfectly happy with the decision by the players’ committee on Tuesday night to grant him a third wild card.
Opposite number Corey Pavin will have one more than that, but Montgomerie said: “I got what I wanted. I’m just concerned about getting the strongest team and having one more option might just allow me to do that.”
When the pair meet on the first tee at County Louth tomorrow the matter is unlikely to crop up.
Both will be focused on trying to rediscover form. McIlroy’s second-round 77 at the Players Championship last Friday was his worst round of the year, while on the same day Montgomerie missed a second successive cut at the Italian Open.
If the Ryder Cup is one talking point on the European Tour this week, another is the situation with the Tour’s £100million sponsors Leisurecorp.
With the global financial crisis hitting Dubai hard they have been absorbed into state-owned parent company Nakheel.
But Tour chief executive George O’Grady said today that, far from it being a worrying development, it was “good news for us”.
He added: “The whole economic situation is a cause for concern and the situation in Dubai is well chronicled, but we are particularly strong. This consolidates our position and is favourable.
“We’ve been kept fully informed at all times and as we speak the five-year contract is safe.”
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