The strength of golf in the United States will make revenge for Europe in next year’s Ryder Cup even sweeter for Rory McIlroy.
Captained by McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, Europe lost the prestigious biennial competition at Hazeltine last year, suffering its first defeat since 2008 and just their second in the last eight editions of the event.
Not staged in continental Europe since 1997, the tournament will be held at Le Golf National near Paris in September next year.
And the United States — boasting the likes of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson — underlined its impressive credentials by thrashing the International team 19-11 at the Presidents Cup last week.
“They’ve got a very young, very strong team, a hungry team,” McIlroy said Wednesday during a news conference at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. “Every Ryder Cup is tough. We only won one session in Wales (in 2010) but we won it by enough that we were able to win.
“We had to have the comeback of the century to win at Medinah (in 2012). 2014 was a little more routine at Gleneagles but they’ve got a great squad, they’ve got a lot of great players, which will make it even sweeter when we win in France.”
McIlroy has not won a tournament in an injury-interrupted 2017 season, finishing second at the British Masters on Sunday ahead of what will be his final event of the year in Scotland.
“I gave myself a decent chance last week,” he said from the Old Course in St Andrews. “Sometimes your best isn’t quite good enough to get the win. If you play well and things go your way that takes care of itself. It would just be nice to string a few good rounds together, put in a good performance and that would be a nice way to end the year.
“It’s nice to be back here and to play a few rounds with my dad. The @dunhilllinks has always been a great week.” @McIlroyRory pic.twitter.com/pV5kM749w8
— Alfred Dunhill Links (@dunhilllinks) October 4, 2017
“In a golfing sense it hasn’t been the year I wanted but a lot of great things have happened to me off the golf course.
“2017 will always be a year I will remember because of that. I’ve tried my best to play well, preserve, play through a bit of an injury and it hasn’t quite happened for me.”