Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on ‘older brother’ role for Luke Donald’s Team Europe in Rome


Rory McIlroy has featured in every Ryder Cup since making his debut for Team Europe in 2010; All 12 of Luke Donald’s side attended a team trip to Marco Simone Golf Club on Monday ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth

        Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on 'older brother' role for Luke Donald's Team Europe in Rome

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Rory McIlroy is happy to take on the “older brother” role for Team Europe this month and insists there will be no hierarchy within the Ryder Cup side in Rome.

McIlroy will make his seventh consecutive appearance in the biennial contest from September 29-October 1 at Marco Simone GC, live on Sky Sports, where Europe will be looking to avenge their record-breaking 19-9 loss to Team USA in 2021.

The former world No 1 has played in more Ryder Cups than any player involved in this year’s contest and is the third-oldest member of Luke Donald’s line-up, only behind Shane Lowry and Justin Rose, making McIlroy one of the senior figures in the European team.

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        Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on 'older brother' role for Luke Donald's Team Europe in Rome

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The four-time major winner joined Donald, the rest of the team and vice captains for a scouting mission to the Ryder Cup venue on Monday, with the trip only getting McIlroy excited further about representing Team Europe in the coming weeks.

“It was amazing,” McIlroy said about the Rome trip in his pre-tournament press conference at the BMW PGA Championship. “I’m sort of surprised it’s the first time we’d ever really done it.

        Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on 'older brother' role for Luke Donald's Team Europe in Rome

Europe’s Ryder Cup stars are all in action at the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of the DP World Tour calendar, with extended coverage live on Sky Sports Golf.

“There’s a few new faces on the team and I thought it was a great exercise in terms of getting to know one another a little bit better. I had an opportunity to play with Ludvig [Åberg] for the first time on Monday, which I was excited about.

“I told him that I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. Not that I need to get any more excited about an upcoming Ryder Cup, but that trip definitely got the juices flowing.”

Europe’s team has undergone significant change since 2021, with five members of that side joining the LIV Golf League, while McIlroy hopes the team trip will help embed the more inexperienced players into the Ryder Cup fold.

        Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on 'older brother' role for Luke Donald's Team Europe in Rome

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“I felt like the 12 of us are on the same level, there’s no type of hierarchy on the team,” McIlroy added. “I remember the 2012 Ryder Cup, I went in there, No 1 player in the world, I had won two majors in the last two years, and I still didn’t feel like I could speak up in the team room.

“It this doesn’t feel like that, which I think is really good. Just making the new guys as comfortable as possible. To me, that’s a really cool thing about the last couple of days.

“I don’t think any of these guys need their hand held in any way. I’d rather them look across to me than look up at me. That’s the way I’d hope they see me in that way. We are all part of a 12-man team and we are all trying to do our bit, and certainly no one is more important than anyone else.

“I think just trying to make a really conscious effort amongst the vice captains, captains, the veteran guys on the team of being inclusive and really just making sure that the younger guys and the rookies are really involved in everything that we do.”

        Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to take on 'older brother' role for Luke Donald's Team Europe in Rome

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McIlroy and Jon Rahm are the two-highest ranked players in the European team, with the Spaniard also playing down and defining roles for the more experienced players in Donald’s line-up.

“On that team, we’re all the same,” Rahm said. “It’s all for one and one for all. That’s kind of how it is. We are all there to accomplish the same goal. We are all part of the same team, and yeah, there’s no – what you’ve done before and what you might do after that week, doesn’t matter at all.

“I can just talk to the rookies if they need any advice and tell them how I handled my first Ryder Cup and experiences. But when you have a captain like Luke [Donald] who has been very successful in Ryder Cups, vice captains who have more experiences and stories than most of us combined, I think there’s very little I can say to make a big impact.”

Watch the BMW PGA Championship throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday with Featured Groups from 8.30am ahead of full coverage from midday on Sky Sports Golf.

Live coverage from the opening day of the Ryder Cup begins on Friday September 29 from 6am on Sky Sports Golf, while live programming begins on Monday September 25. Stream the PGA Tour, DP Tour, Ryder Cup and more with NOW.


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