Team Europe has “a lot of circumstances stacked against us” as they try to reclaim the Ryder Cup 2020, according to Rory McIlroy, who believes winning at Whistling Straits would be a “big achievement.”
With the exception of the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012, the home team has won six of the last seven Ryder Cups.
McIlroy was a member of that team, and this week he will compete in his sixth Ryder Cup.
With home advantage potentially being even more important this year due to lower away support, McIlroy believes Europe will enter the tournament as underdogs.
“Winning any Ryder Cup is amazing and a mammoth achievement for everyone involved,” he added, “but I think winning a Ryder Cup on the road has just gotten more meaningful for some reason over the years.”
“We had it in 2012, which was perhaps one of the best days in the Ryder Cup history from a European perspective.” I’d love to experience that sensation once more.
“I think it would be a huge accomplishment, especially when you consider that this tournament isn’t played on paper; it’s played on grass, but on paper, you’d look at the World Rankings and everything, and we’re coming in as underdogs with a lot of odds stacked against us, so I think it would be even more of an accomplishment.”
One element that may work in Team Europe’s favour is the fact that they have greater experience among their ranks.
While the United States has six rookies on the roster, Europe has three, including McIlroy and Ryder Cup veterans Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, and Sergio Garcia.
McIlroy added, “We play for each other.” “I believe that is the wisest course of action for you to take. You’re playing for the folks next to you.
“You play for everyone who is trying to help our team win this week.” You’re definitely representing your nation, continent, and, I suppose, your Tour in some way. But most importantly, we play for one another.
“It’s a limited group of players that have competed for Europe in the Ryder Cup.” I believe that’s what puts us so close together, and that’s been one of our main focus points this week: simply being here and being part of a European team is incredibly wonderful.
“Only a small percentage of European Ryder Cup 2020 players may call themselves European Ryder Cup players.”
McIlroy was asked about his role in the squad and said: “With this being my sixth Ryder Cup, I felt like 2014 was the year that I fully accepted the role of leader, and then it was all downhill from there.
“But I think that’s one of the beautiful things about the European team: we’re not relying on a single player. There’s a group of really seasoned players there who some of the younger players and rookies may learn from.
“Then you consider our vice-captains, and all of the crucial roles they’ve played in Ryder Cups throughout the years. On our team, we have enough of leaders.”
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