Rory McIlroy says being the leading point-scorer in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory “means a lot” after his disappointing performance at Whistling Straits two years ago left him in tears.
The Northern Irishman was one of Europe’s key players against the USA this week, playing all five matches and winning four points.
McIlroy headed into the 2021 event struggling for form and went on to lose all three of his pairs matches before a consolation singles victory as Europe were thrashed by a record 19-9 margin.
But he has bounced back since and was in fine form all week in Rome, beating Sam Burns in a crucial singles match 3 and 1 on Sunday as Europe went on to clinch a 16.5-11.5 victory.
“It means an awful lot. I was so disappointed after Whistling Straits,” said McIlroy. “We all were. And we wanted to come here to Rome this year and redeem ourselves a bit.
“We’ve got some fresh blood on the team that I think has worked really, really well.
“I just knew that I needed to put in a better performance for my teammates this week and thankfully I was able to do that.”
McIlroy was at the centre of controversial scenes late on Saturday as he became incensed by the behaviour of Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava on the 18th hole of their fourballs match.
The four-time Major champion was livid after LaCava continued to celebrate a brilliant putt by Cantlay near the Northern Irishman while he was preparing for his own effort to tie the contest.
US media reports said that LaCava met McIlroy on Sunday morning to apologise, but the world No 2 shot those claims down.
Asked about the incident, McIlroy simply twice said: “I haven’t met Joe.”
“I let it fuel me. I didn’t let it take away from what’s been a fantastic week,” added McIlroy about the incident. “I used that little incident last night to my advantage.”
© Agence France-Presse