Rory McIlroy says he used to feel like ‘he couldn’t speak up’ in the Ryder Cup dressing room, but is now more than happy to happy to take on the ‘older brother’ role for Luke Donald’s team in Rome.
The Northern Irishman will make his seventh successive appearance in the biennial event in Rome later this month, aided with the feeling that this team’s hierarchy is all on the same level compared to previous outings in golf’s greatest contest, which featured the likes of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter.
“It’s a transitional time for the European Ryder Cup Team,” said the two-time DP World Tour Championship winner.
“There’s guys that have been amazing Ryder Cuppers for two decades, basically, and you know, unfortunately things move on and you need to try to bring in some fresh talent. We certainly have that this year in terms of someone like Sepp who came on the scene the last couple years and has played some great golf.
“It’s exciting. I think the thing, as well, which has been refreshing, it felt like there’s, you know, start with Rosey and Shane and myself, the three oldest on the team, which is amazing to say. I felt like the 12 of us are on the same level, there’s no type of hierarchy on the team.
“I remember the 2012 Ryder Cup, I went in there, No. 1 player in the world, I had won two majors in the last two years, and I still didn’t feel like I could speak up in the team room. Tthis doesn’t feel like that, which I think is really good. Just making the new guys as comfortable as possible. To me, that’s a really cool thing about the last couple days.”
Team Europe 💙 pic.twitter.com/3oMqFFG49F
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 11, 2023
The new look side also features rising star Ludvig Åberg, who only turned professional in June.
The Swede claimed a maiden victory in only his second DP World Tour event as a professional courtesy of a stunning finish at the Omega European Masters last month, denying Matt Fitzpatrick a hat-trick of titles in the Swiss mountains.
“I had an opportunity to play with Ludvig for the first time on Monday, which I was excited about,” said McIlroy.
“I told him, “I said I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.”
“Everyone talks about what a great driver of the golf ball he is, which he is. The ball-striking is incredible. But I was really impressed with his wedge play and how he can sort of control his trajectory with shorter clubs. I was on the bandwagon before. Certainly at the front of it now.”