McLlroy Warns: Ryder Cup Mainstays’ Absence Will Reverberate in Golfing World

GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy – As the 2023 Ryder Cup commences, golfing icon Rory McIlroy finds himself in a unique position, missing the familiar faces of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Graeme McDowell, who have been stalwarts of the European team for decades. The reason for their absence? They have joined LIV Golf, a decision that rendered them ineligible for selection in this year’s Ryder Cup.

This marks the first Ryder Cup since 1995 without the presence of any of these four seasoned veterans. The quartet’s departure from the DP World Tour to join LIV Golf, a breakaway league, has left a void that even McIlroy, a vocal critic of LIV Golf from the outset, admits is palpable.

“It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,” said McIlroy, reflecting on the absence of his former teammates. “But I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that, you know, they are not here, and I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them.”

Notably, only one LIV golfer, American Brooks Koepka, will be participating in the Ryder Cup, selected by U.S. captain Zach Johnson.

The conversation about the absentees has been a prominent theme this week, with McIlroy’s teammate Jon Rahm seeking guidance from Poulter and Garcia as he prepares for the competition.

“He [Garcia] showed me a lot of what to do at Whistling Straits [in 2021] and in Paris [in 2018],” Rahm noted. “I did have a little bit of a chat with him, as recently as [Monday] and with Poulter as well. It’s not going to be easy to take on the role that those two had both on and off the golf course, but [I] just [wanted] to hear them talk about what they thought and what they felt is invaluable information.”

McIlroy, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, carries the responsibility of preserving Europe’s 30-year unbeaten home record in the Ryder Cup. This challenge comes on the heels of Europe’s heavy defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago, where they succumbed to the American team 19-9. McIlroy candidly admitted that he felt at his lowest in Ryder Cup colors during certain moments of that competition.

However, McIlroy’s redemption arrived during the singles on the final day, where Captain Padraig Harrington entrusted him with the pivotal opening match against Xander Schauffele, and McIlroy emerged victorious. Looking back, he views that moment as a turning point in his career.

“Coming into 2021, I felt like I was searching a little bit,” McIlroy confessed. “I didn’t feel in full control of my game. If you trace everything back, I got a lot of confidence and belief in myself that Sunday singles at Whistling Straits because I certainly wasn’t believing in myself at that time. But the rest of my team did believe in me.”

With a Ryder Cup career record of 12-12-4, including a commendable 3-2-1 in singles matches, McIlroy is poised to contribute significantly to Europe’s success this year.

As the Ryder Cup kicks off, much of the discourse revolves around fan involvement, and the European team enjoys the advantage of home support. McIlroy anticipates the customary banter from U.S. fans but regards it as an integral part of the Ryder Cup experience.

“There’s not a lot of other instances in the game of golf where [getting heckled] happens, but there’s certainly a line,” McIlroy remarked. “Most fans that come out to watch golf are very respectful and they know what that line is. No, I have no issues about that. Yeah, we have all had our fair share of heckles over the years and whatever, and that’s a part of it. Someone said to me once, if you want to be part of the circus, you have to put up with the clowns.”
Source: Espnnews

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