SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — It was a particularly difficult Ryder Cup for Rory McIlroy, who for the first time sat out a session, went 0-2 in a single day and made just a single birdie over two days of four-ball competition.
But he also showed what it means to him Sunday as he became emotional in interviews following his 3-and-2 victory over American Xander Schauffele in the singles portion of the Ryder Cup, giving Europe one of the few points it earned in an overwhelming U.S. victory.
“I should have done more for them this week,” said McIlroy, who went 1-3 and played first Sunday against Schauffele. “The more I play in this event, I realize it’s that it’s the best event in golf. I love being a part of it. I can’t wait to be part of many more.”
McIlroy, 32, competed in his sixth Ryder Cup and now has an overall record of 12-12-4. Well before his first Ryder Cup in 2010, when he was just 20 years old, McIlroy wondered what all the fuss was about. He referred to the Ryder Cup as an “exhibition,” explaining that it was a “great spectacle” but that “at the end of the day it should be there to be enjoyed. In the big scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal to me.”
It didn’t take long for him to see the Ryder Cup was more than that, playing on winning teams in 2010, ’12, ’14 and ’18.
“I’ve never cried or got emotional over what I’ve done as an individual,” said McIlroy, who has won four major championships, the FedEx Cup twice as well as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. “I couldn’t give a s—.”
Soon, McIlroy regrouped and apologized for swearing.
“I don’t think there’s any greater privilege to be a part of one of these teams, European or American. It’s an absolute privilege,” he said. “I’ve gotten to do this six times. They have always been my greatest experiences of my career.
“This team, and what — and what it feels like to be a part of, to see Sergio [Garcia] break records [for Ryder Cup wins and points], to see Jon Rahm come into his own this week, to see one of my best friends, Shane Lowry, make his Ryder Cup debut. It’s phenomenal and I’m so happy to be a part of it. As I said, I’m disappointed that I didn’t contribute more this week, but you know, in two years’ time, we’ll go again and try to give it another go again. Sorry for swearing, as well.”