Wednesday, 06 October 2010
Rory McIlroy has no intention of forgetting about Europe’s Ryder Cup success, but insists he is fully focused on this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
McIlroy is still on a high after making his Ryder Cup debut at The Celtic Manor Resort and helping Colin Montgomerie’s team to the most dramatic of victories.
But as the Race of Dubai enters its final stages, the 21-year-old Northern Irishman is determined to make up ground on current leader Martin Kaymer - another member of Europe’s winning team - with a strong showing in Scotland.
McIlroy, who currently lies 11th in the standings, said: “This is a big event and there’s an opportunity here if I play well to put myself into contention (for the Race to Dubai).
“I know Martin is quite a bit ahead of everyone else, but if I can get a win here, that would make it a lot easier for me to mount a charge over the last two weeks.
“It would be great to get a win in Europe and lift another trophy here.
“I've been a pro now for three years, and this is basically where it all started for me. I got my Tour card here, and it would be great to win this championship. I've had a second and a third, so hopefully I can go one better.”
When asked about his maiden Ryder Cup adventure, McIlroy added: “It’s the best golf tournament in the world, by far.
“The whole experience has made me open my eyes and realise how important it is to everyone and it’s become very important to me now.
“I’ve only played one, but as I said on Monday night, I don’t want to miss another one.”
McIlroy admits he was taken aback by the pressure involved at The Celtic Manor Resort and paid tribute to close friend and playing partner Graeme McDowell, who sealed victory for Europe in the final singles match.
“It’s amazing what having to play for 11 other guys does to you,” he added. “The first 11 holes on Friday, I was very edgy.
“I had a good chat with GMac about it and he said to me, ‘you just play the game you usually play and you’ll be ok’. I went out the next morning and let myself go and played the way I usually play golf.
“I’ve said it for a long time, GMac is, in my eyes, probably apart from Tiger (Woods), the best player under pressure in the world. Any time he has to deliver, he does. That’s the sign of a great player.”
McDowell, who occupies second place in the Race to Dubai standings, is also keen to put in a good showing in the final few events of the season.
However, he is unsure of what to expect on the links this week after what he describes as “one of the most amazing experiences in my life” in Wales.
“Last week was a long, tiring week,” said the US Open Champion. “Monday was one of the more amazing days I've ever had on the golf course. It was certainly the most nervous I've ever been on the golf course, that's for sure.
“I guess I feel like I'm entering into a world which is a bit unknown to me. But first and foremost I’m focusing hard on the end of the season.
“The Race to Dubai is a pretty big goal of mine.  I'm playing the last five or six events in a row to finish the season, and looking forward to that.
“My expectation levels are reasonably low this week, but who knows? Expectations can sometimes be a killer and if you don't have any, you can sometimes perform pretty well.
“It would be amazing to win this weekend. Let’s see what happens.”
McDowell is among the favourites to be named as Sports Personality of the Year following his Ryder Cup heroics.
He added: “It’s definitely a life-changing experience that I’ve gone through in the last few months.
“I've lived two of my golfing dreams - to win a major championship and to hole the winning putt in The Ryder Cup - and I feel incredibly lucky.
“I can't get my head around it for sure now but I feel very fortunate and privileged that I've had the opportunity.”
European Team Captain Montgomerie is also in the field this week and admits a weight has been lifted from his shoulders following Monday’s memorable success.

“Everybody contributed to such a wonderful, wonderful week, and we are just glad that the Ryder Cup has returned here to Europe,” said the Scot.

“Now I'm looking forward to getting back to actually playing golf..

“I haven't had a Top 10 in these last two years. It's the worst run of form I've had as a player due to the fact that I've been trying to win this thing.

It has set my career back two years, but that was what we were willing to do.  I realised it was going to, and I just now have to get back to competing and contending in tournaments.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAYMER, MartinGER18-17
2WILLETT, DannyENG18-14
3PARRY, JohnENG18-13
4BOYD, GaryENG18-12
T5DYSON, SimonENG18-11
T5LAIRD, MartinSCO18-11
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