Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Ryder Cup: The USA want to target me? Bring it on, says Rory McIlroy

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy of Europe addresses the media during his press conference during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy of Europe signs autographs for spectators during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy tallks with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA tallks with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Phil Mickelson of the USA signs autographs for fans outside the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: The European team players pose for a photograph with their wives and partners prior to the 39th Ryder Cup gala>> at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: European Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal poses for a photograph with the European players wives and partners prior to the 39th Ryder Cup gala>> at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Francesco Molinari of Europe lines up a shot with his caddie Jason Hempleman during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy of Europe walk with their caddies during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Jim McLean, Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson of the USA walk off a tee box during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Europe's Rory McIlroy reacts to a putt on the seventh hole during a practice round at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: A USA spectator watches the action during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: A USA spectator takes photos during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: British fans watch the action during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the United States hits a drive during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA tallks with Justin Timberlake during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA enters the stage during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA enters the stage during the 39th Ryder Cup gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy of Europe poses for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Rory McIlroy of Europe poses for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Rose of Europe poses with his wife Kate for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Francesco Molinari of Europe poses with his wife Valentina for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Luke Donald of England of Europe poses with his wife Diane for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Sergio Garcia (L) and Jose Maria Olazabal of Europe pose for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Ian Poulter of England of Europe poses with his wife Katie for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Paul Lawrie of Europe poses with his wife Marian for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Lee Westwood of Europe poses with his wife Laurae for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Peter Hanson of Europe poses with his wife Sanna for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Bjorn of Europe poses with his wife Pernilla for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Thomas Bjorn of Europe poses with his wife Pernilla for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Steve Stricker of the USA and his wife Nicki Stricker attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Bubba Watson of the USA and his wife Angie Watson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA attends the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Tiger Woods of the USA attends the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Phil Mickelson of the USA and his wife Amy Mickelson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Phil Mickelson of the USA and his wife Amy Mickelson attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: USA team captain Davis Love III and his wife Robin Love attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: USA team captain Davis Love III and his wife Robin Love attend the 39th Ryder Cup Gala at Akoo Theatre at Rosemont on September 26, 2012 in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Nicolas Colsaerts, Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer of Europe pose for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia and Nicolas Colsaerts of Europe pose for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Graeme McDowell of Europe (L) poses with his girlfriend Kristin Stape and Rory McIlroy (R) for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Paul McGinley of Europe poses with his wife Ally for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Darren Clarke of Europe poses with his wife Alison for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
LOMBARD, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Miguel Angel Jimenez of Europe poses with his girlfriend Susanne Styblo for a portrait at the Ryder Cup host hotel prior to the start of the 39th Ryder Cup Gala on September 26, 2012 in Lombard, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood stars Justin Timberlake (R) and Bill Murray inspect the Ryder Cup on the first tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26: Phil Mickelson of the USA plays a bunker shot during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray clowns around with the gallery during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray hits his tee shot on the second hole during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray clowns around with the Ryder Cup on the first tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Justin Timberlake watches a tee shot during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Europe's Lee Westwood flexes his muscle for captain Jose Maria Olazabal at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Golf fans watch the play during a practice round during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Justin Rose and Ian Poulter of Europe during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: A detailed shot of the pants worn by Bill Murray during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray clowns around with the gallery during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Caddies joke around over during the European team official photograph during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: USA Team captain Davis Love III and Tiger Woods pose with the trophy during the official photocall during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Peter Lawrie of Europe signs autographs for spectators during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson of the USA share a joke during the second preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Justin Timberlake watches a tee shot during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood stars Justin Timberlake and Bill Murray clown around on the second tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel (R) watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood stars Justin Timberlake (R) and Bill Murray inspect the Ryder Cup on the first tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray clowns around with the Ryder Cup on the first tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Hollywood star Bill Murray clowns around with the Ryder Cup on the first tee during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: Actress Jessica Biel watches the play of Justin Timberlake during the 2012 Ryder Cup Captains & Celebrity Scramble at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 25, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(L-R) Laurae Westwood and Katie Poulter celebrate following Europe's victory in the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Europe's wives and girlfriends during the closing ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
Amy Mickelson watches the play of her husband Phil Mickelson in the singles matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
European Team Captain Colin Montgomerie walks with his wife Gaynor following Europe's 14.5 to 13.5 victory over the USA at the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Europe's wives and girlfriends during the closing ceremony during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport
Diane Donald waits for her husband Luke Donald at the third green during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport
Christina Zimmer, girlfriend of USA's Jeff Overton, supports her boyfriend during the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, Newport
Phil Mickelson of the USA walks with his wife Amy and teammates Matt Kuchar and Bubba Watson after the singles matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Lisa Pavin and Amy Mickelson of the USA watch the play during the singles matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Diane Donald watches her husband Luke in the singles matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
USA Team Captain Corey Pavin's wife Lisa rides in a buggy during the singles matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 4, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Dustin Johnson's partner Amanda Caulder looks on during the Fourball & Foursome Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 3, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Luke Donald of Europe smiles with wife Diane during the Fourball & Foursome Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 3, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Singer Katherine Jenkins performs during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Singer Katherine Jenkins performs during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Singer Katherine Jenkins performs during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins performs on stage at the 2010 Ryder Cup Welcome To Wales Celebration Concert with members of the American and European Ryder Cup teams at the Milliennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Katherine Jenkins performs during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Katherine Jenkins waves during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Katherine Jenkins waves during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Katherine Jenkins
The Prince of Wales meets actress Catherine Zeta Jones, right, and presenter Steve Jones at the Welcome to Wales concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the Ryder Cup
The Prince of Wales meets actress Catherine Zeta Jones, right, and presenter Steve Jones at the Welcome to Wales concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the Ryder Cup
Katherine Jenkins, Dame Shirley Bassey and Catherine Zeta Jones at the Welcome to Wales concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the Ryder Cup
Martin Kaymer of the European Ryder Cup team poses with partner Allison Micheletti prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Martin Kaymer of the European Ryder Cup team poses with partner Allison Micheletti prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Europe captain Colin Montgomerie's wife Gaynor (right) and USA captain Corey Pavin's wife Lisa (left) with other wives and girlfriends during the opening ceremony during the opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
Lisa Pavin (left), wife of Corey Pavin, and Gaynor Montgomerie (right), wife of Colin Montgomerie during the opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
Lisa Pavin leads out the USA team wives during the Ryder Cup opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
USA's Zach Johnson (second left) with his wife Kim Johnson (left), Tiger Woods (centre) and Stewart Cink (right) after the ceremony during the Ryder Cup opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
Phil and Amy Mickelson leave the Ryder Cup opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport
Tiger Woods (centre) and other members of the US Ryder Cup team accompanied by their wives and girlfriends on stage at the Welcome to Wales concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff ahead of the Ryder Cup
The European Team's Wives and Girlfriends pose together: (L-R) Front Row, Laurae Westwood (Lee Westwood), Holly Sweeney (Rory McIlroy), Valentina Molinari (Francesco Molinari), Gaynor Montgomerie (Colin Montgomerie), Diane Donald (Luke Donald), Allison Micheletti (Martin Kaymer), Marian Jimenez (Miguel Angel Jimenez), Back row Alison McGinley (Paul McGinley), Caroline Harrington (Padraig Harrington), Pernilla Bjorn (Thomas Bjorn), Katie Poulter (Ian Poulter), Anna Roscio (Edoardo Molinari), Alison Campbell (Darren Clarke), Sanna Hanson (Peter Hanson) and Jo Fisher (Ross Fisher) prior to the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
(L-R) Lisa Pavin, Amy Mickelson, Kandi Harris girlfriend of Hunter Mahan and Angie Watson girlfriend of Bubba Watson stand during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Team Captain of the USA Corey Pavin (R) and Wife Lisa, and Colin Montgomerie of Europe and Wife Gaynor lead out the players and their wives and girlfriends during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Team Captain Colin Montgomerie of Europe and Wife Gaynor stand together during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Team Captain of the USA Corey Pavin and Wife Lisa stand together during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Amy and Phil Mickelson walk together during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Team Captain of the USA Corey Pavin (R) and Wife Lisa and Colin Montgomerie of Europe and Wife Gaynor lead out the players and their wives and girlfriends during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Amy and Phil Mickelson walk together during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Amy Mickelson waves during the Opening Ceremony prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 30, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Luke Donald and Diane Donald attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Martin Kaymer and partner Allison Michelett attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Lee Westwood and Laurae Westwood attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Padraig Harrington and Caroline Harrington attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Ian Poulter and Katie Poulter attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Ross Fisher and Joanne Fisher attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
American Ryder Cup Team Captain Corey Pavin (C) poses with America team wives as they attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Edoardo Molinari and partner Anna Roscio attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales meets the wives and girlfriends of the European team at the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Holly Sweeney and Rory McIlroy attend the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle, on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Corey Pavin and his wife Lisa Pavin, along with members of the United States Ryder Cup team, walk onstage during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy Mickelson, along with members of the United States Ryder Cup team, walk onstage during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Singer Dame Shirley Bassey and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones perform during Welcome To Wales at Millennium Stadium on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and his wife Gaynor Montgomerie arriving at the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Phil Mickelson of the USA with his wife Amy Mickelson during the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
United States Team captain Corey Pavin with his wife Lisa Pavin during the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at Cardiff Castle on September 29, 2010 in Cardiff, Wales
Ryder Cup: European Team wives and girlfriends
European Ryder Cup team vice-captain Thomas Bjorn poses with his wife Pernilla prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
European Ryder Cup team vice-captain Paul McGinley poses with his wife Alison prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Ross Fisher of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his wife Jo prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Edoardo Molinari (left-center) of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his partner Anna Roscio alongside his brother Francesco Molinari and his wife Valentina prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Francesco Molinari of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his wife Valentina prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Rory McIlroy of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his partner Holly Sweeney prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Luke Donald of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his wife Diane prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Miguel Angel Jimenez of the European Ryder Cup poses with partner Marian Jimenez prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
European Ryder Cup team captain Colin Montgomerie poses with his wige Gaynor prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
The wives and partners of the European Ryder Cup team members pose prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Padraig Harrington of the European Ryder Cup team poses with his wife Caroline prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
The wives and partners of the European Ryder Cup team members pose prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
European Ryder Cup team vice-captain Paul McGinley poses with his wife Alison prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
European Ryder Cup team vice-captain Darren Clarke poses with his partner Alison Campbell prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010 in Newport, Wales
Rory McIlroy poses with Holly Sweeney prior to the 2010 Ryder Cup Dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 29, 2010
Amy Mickelson, wife of Phil Mickelson arrives during the Ryder Cup opening Ceremony at Celtic Manor, Newport

Rory McIlroy is growing into the role of golf's big beast. If the Americans want to target him, let them. McIlroy skipped on to the Ryder Cup stage here at Medinah unrecognisable from the uncertain, even shy youth who made his debut at Celtic Manor. There, he had still to be convinced of the power and authenticity of Ryder Cup mythology, wasn't sure what all the fuss was about.

He has a better understanding now, not only of the scale of this event but of his role in it. McIlroy has been the focus of American interest. The points-scoring begins long before the first shot, and, to borrow from the Ryder Cup lexicon of Ian Poulter, McIlroy is the one with the biggest bull's eye on his back. Great. Bring it on, he says.



"I think it's a huge compliment that people are saying they want to beat me and whatever," he said yesterday. "Whoever wants to take me on, they can take me on." This is just the flavour of belligerent rhetoric required to douse American flames. Bombast does not come easy to McIlroy, but he is learning the law of the golfing jungle and with two majors under his loin cloth, the second coming just a month ago at the PGA, the chest-beating is justified. It comes with due deference to his team-mates, a hallmark of the European team ethic.



"There are guys that have played more Ryder Cups than me and are more experienced in the team room. I don't think my role is to be leader in the team room. The way I have played the last couple of years it's more a leader on the course, to try to win my point and put points on the board.



"I don't have a number, a total (in my head)," McIlroy said. "The US are a strong team and with them playing at home, they are favourites. We have to play very well to have a chance. So if I play on Friday morning I want to go out there, get my point and take it from there."



The "if" was diplomacy. McIlroy will feature in the opening foursomes almost certainly alongside Graeme McDowell, with whom he was paired on the opening day of practice on Tuesday. Few know better than captain Jose Maria Olazabal about the importance of chemistry to a pairing. Playing alongside Seve Ballesteros, Olazabal formed the most potent twosome the event has known. He would not want to disturb the equilibrium of a pairing that draws on friendship as well as roots.



Lee Westwood has enjoyed great success with Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia in previous Ryder Cups. Assuming the combined 59 Westwood and Donald shot in taking money off Poulter and Justin Rose on Tuesday is significant then Olazabal's big decision is who to pair with Garcia tomorrow morning. He will not be short of volunteers. As McIlroy maintained, the sense of camaraderie in the European team room is overwhelming. He checked in his No 1 ranking at the door.



"This week I'm not the No 1 player in the world. I'm one person in a 12-man team and that's it. It's a team effort. There's 12 guys all striving towards the same goal. I'm just part of that. I just want to go out and get a point for the team, whether that's going out first, fourth or in the middle it doesn't make a difference to me and it does not make a difference who I play. I'm going to go out there and give it my best to win that point."



If you infer from that the view that McIlroy is ready to take on all-comers, you will not be contradicted. For all-comers, read Tiger Woods, in whom the American team continues to invest everything. "As I said earlier I'm just going out to win my point. If that's against him or someone else, it doesn't matter."



This is the real strength of McIlroy. He has mastered all doubt. He knows that when he reaches for that extra gear and finds it, he is beyond the reach of all. And this feeling of personal empowerment is significantly enhanced in the team setting. "Playing at Celtic Manor opened my eyes. The majors are still the tournaments I want to win but I got to the Ryder Cup in Wales and my perception changed.



"I'd been to Ryder Cups to watch and I know how exciting they are, but until you are actually involved it's different. When you stand on that first tee on Friday morning, everyone screaming your name, you see how important it is to everyone. You are not just playing for yourself, you are playing for a lot of other people. That's what makes it so special and so important."

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