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Ryder Cup: More to Europe than Rory McIlroy – Iain Carter

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Ryder Cup: More to Europe than Rory McIlroy – Iain Carter
ryder-cup-more-to-europe-than-rory-mcilroy-–-iain-carter
As we assess where this Ryder Cup will be won http://www.titans.us.com/Jurrell_Casey_Jersey and lost, Rory McIlroy correctly and succinctly sought to play down his influence on the outcome at Gleneagles this week. The United States team have repeatedly stated that beating the world number one would give them a boost of greater significance than the point they would put on the scoreboard. The theory follows that McIlroy should therefore be targeted in the draw, along with the talismanic Ian Poulter, who boasts an 80% winning record in his four Ryder Cups to date. "They win a match against me, they get a point. No more, no less," McIlroy said. He was stating the obvious but there was an underlying message. Europe are not a one man team. There is strength in depth in Paul McGinley's side. McIlroy and Poulter have dominated the build-up but there are two more figures just as likely to prove the engine room of the European effort. Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose have been somewhat under the radar but both have the form and experience to lead the way for the home team in Scotland. Garcia is playing his seventh Ryder Cup and has contributed 18 points from a possible 28 since making his first appearance in 2002. In that debut at the Belfry he demonstrated a Tigger-like enthusiasm for these biennial jousts that has never dimmed. "The drive to do well and obviously win, it's still the same," he said. "Once you put your clothes on and your shoes on and you step on the first tee, you still want to beat them as hard as you can." In foursomes he's won eight of eleven matches while his dependable driving makes the Spaniard a huge asset in the fourballs. The world number three is in fine form as well; in his last eight tournaments he boasts five top 10 finishes, including three runner-up positions. "We know how important the Ryder Cup is to all of us, how much it means to be part of this team; Zack Bowman Limited Jersey how difficult it is to be part of this team," Garcia added. It's conceivable the Spaniard could team up with McIlroy in the Friday morning fourballs, especially if McGinley decides to break up the world number one's partnership with Poulter. It was with McIlroy at his side at Medinah where Poulter unleashed his closing spell of Saturday evening birdies that began the remarkable European comeback from 10-4 down two years ago. Poulter could also pair up with his old mate Rose, but that's more likely to happen in the alternate shot format rather than Friday morning fourballs. Rose paired with Henrik Stenson looks a good match-up for the better ball format and the Englishman will feel ready to play a lead role. Oddly enough, this is only the third Ryder Cup for the 34-year-old and his first on home soil. Rose played in the defeat in 2008 and starred on the final day at Medinah two years ago. That extraordinary session feels like a lone day of success in his Ryder Cup career. "Until that point we were being well and truly beaten," Rose told BBC Sport. "And in the previous Ryder Cup at Valhalla we were on the losing end of it there. So I've experienced six days of Ryder Cup golf and five of them have been pretty bleak." But that tumultuous final day when the bleakness lifted proved the launch pad for Rose's career. His clutch putts on the final two holes to beat Phil Mickelson delivered a vital point for Europe but also provided a vital boost to the Englishman's self-assurance. It undoubtedly helped him win the US Open in 2013. "I was surprised how comfortable I felt down the stretch at Merion," he admitted. "That's due to all the experiences I've had in the game and a big part of that was Ryder Cup. "As a kid you wonder how these guys stand up to the pressure and I'm not really sure how we do it, but you trust your training and you get into it. To be able to pull off some of the great shots I did down the stretch you have to take confidence from that." Rose is one of four major winners in the European team and the man who succeeded him as US Open champion, Martin Kaymer, is another. The German, who holed the putt that retained the trophy two years ago, could partner McIlroy in foursomes and is expected to play a http://www.falconsofficialonlineshop.com/FALCONS-PETER-KONZ-JERSEY much more senior role this time. He made only two appearances in the victory two years ago. Graeme McDowell is helping to shepherd Victor Dubuisson through his debut, while Lee Westwood is providing a similar role with the other rookies Stephen Gallacher and Jamie Donaldson.

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