McIlroy unperturbed by being a target
Published 26/09/2012 | 18:12
If the Americans want to target Rory McIlroy at the Ryder Cup in Chicago then that is perfectly fine with him.
There is no doubt many Americans feel that if they can bring down the 23-year-old Northern Irishman - three wins in his last five starts, including his second major - then they will be a long way towards winning back the trophy.
"This week I'm not the number one player in the world," McIlroy said. "I'm one person in a 12-man team and that's it. It's a team effort. There's 12 guys striving towards the same goal. I'm just part of that."
Jim Furyk said of McIlroy last week "obviously he's a marked man. Right now he's the present day Tiger Woods where everyone's eyes are on him."
And winning 2010 captain Paul Azinger stated: "He can slump his shoulders. If he loses two matches that first day the whole dynamic in the European team room changes. I think Europe have always looked for Tiger and he's been easy to find. We always used to look for Seve Ballesteros."
McIlroy, who had one win, two halves and one loss on his cup debut two years ago, is expected to partner compatriot Graeme McDowell again. They were together in practice for the second day running on Wednesday.
"I don't think I have a bullseye on my back," the 23-year-old added. "I think it's a huge compliment that people are saying they want to beat me and whatever. Whoever wants to take me on, they can take me on. I just want to go out and get a point for the team and whether that's going out first or fourth or in the middle really doesn't make a difference to me.
"And it doesn't make a difference who I play. I'm going to go out there and give it my best to win that point."
McIlroy, of course, is playing a Ryder Cup in America for the first time. Nobody knows yet just how rowdy it will be, but McIlroy was also asked how he would react if somebody heckled him. He said: "There's not much you can do. Emotions run high here and obviously the majority of the crowd are going to be pulling for the American team.
"You've just got to get on with it. Hopefully I won't get heckled, but if I do then you've just got to stay calm and be focussed on the golf." On whether he had ever experienced heckling he smiled and replied: "Just because of my haircut - nothing insulting!"