Rory McIlroy vowed his poor performance at the Ryder Cup will motivate him for a 2023 rematch in Italy after Europe were routed by the United States this past Sunday.
The four-time Major winner from Northern Ireland salvaged a solitary point from the team golf showdown on Sunday by beating Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele 3 & 2 in the first match out at Whistling Straits.
But Europe dropped five of the next six to surrender the trophy it had won in four of the past five events and McIlroy, his voice cracking as he wiped away tears, could only regret losing so much.
“I just, I love being a part of this team so much and I should have done more for them this week,” McIlroy said after the worst Ryder Cup display of his career. “I’m glad I was able to get a point for Europe. It has been a tough week.
“I haven’t been able to contribute as much as I wanted to that but it’s still such a great experience to be part of these Ryder Cup teams and this will just fuel the fire even more for us in two years’ time in Rome.”
The world No 15 struggled as he has much of the season, falling alongside Europe talisman Ian Poulter 5 & 3 to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in Friday foursomes and 4 & 3 in Saturday fourballs to Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa.
McIlroy also partnered with Irishman Shane Lowry in a 4-3 Friday fourball loss to Harris English and Tony Finau, one that brought McIlroy’s first 0-2 day at a Ryder Cup and a benching for Saturday foursomes.
“Glad I got a point on the board for Europe, but disappointed I didn’t do it sooner,” McIlroy said. “Two good opportunities Friday and Saturday to sort of lift us out of a hole and I wasn’t able to do it.
“It’s disappointing. It sucks losing. It sucks not being able to be competitive and, yeah, I’m glad I put a point on the board for Europe today and that was my goal and mission and I was able to accomplish that. But when I look back on this week, it will be a case of sort of lost opportunity.”
It will also inspire him when the chance comes to reclaim the trophy in Rome.
“The more and more I play in this event, I realise it’s the best event in golf, bar none. I love being a part of it. I can’t wait to be a part of many more,” McIlroy said. “I just can’t wait to get another shot at this.”
McIlroy said the emotions of his four Major triumphs were nothing compared to how much the Ryder Cup means to him.
“I’ve never really cried or got emotional over what I’ve done as an individual. I couldn’t give a shit,” McIlroy said. “But this team. It’s phenomenal and I’m so happy to be a part of it. In two years’ time, we’ll give it another go again.”
McIlroy said time, with heartwrenching defeats and glorious triumphs, has taught him how much the Ryder Cup means.
“I’ve said naive and stupid things in the past but this is by far the biggest tournament we have in golf,” McIlroy said. “I’ve gotten to do this six times. They have always been the greatest experiences of my career.”
That was true even after his most humbling defeat.
“We’ve been up against it,” he said. “The American team have been total class in terms of how they played. They’ve been dominant and we haven’t been able to put up as much of a fight as we want.”
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 26, 2021
© Agence France-Presse