McIlroy not intimidated by 'Tiger factor'

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If he gets the chance of a last-day re-match with Patrick Reed here on Sunday - and it's a distinct possibility - the Northern Irishman is determined to have "some energy in reserve" this time around. "I should have taken more breaks in the playoffs this year, and I went something like 26 or 28 days from before NY through that Saturday afternoon of BMW, at least six-hour days on the course and gym". He was screaming and shouting like never before and, pushed too far by some of the stuff being aimed at him from outside the ropes, he angrily confronted one fan on the Saturday for overstepping the mark with a comment.

Significantly, however, Europe captain Thomas Bjørn can count on the three most accurate off the tee - Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, and Francesco Molinari. If players or pairs record the same score on a hole, it is halved. McIlroy rolled in a 60-footer for birdie, cupping his ear in a goading gesture to the crowd and shouting: "I can't hear you, I can't hear you".

The home team gets to set up the course to their liking but the fans may be the biggest factor in their advantage. None of them come in playing their best golf of the year, but they won't be bug-eyed all week like Olesen, Noren and the rooks will. "The level sort of declined after that and reached its crescendo on the eighth green, and the last 10 holes weren't quite as good".

"I just ran out of gas there", Spieth said.

Thomas epitomizes the current bomb-and-gauge style of play on Tour but will have to adjust due to some seriously thick rough and tight fairways at Le Golf National.

I really like Simpson and Finau to play well this week.

McIlroy says it's silly to focus on one player and that he might not even see Woods at Le Golf National if they are not in the same match.

They must be favourites then?


Friday morning begins with four fourball matches; each member of a two-man team plays his own ball. "Usually who plays the last hole well determines the Cup". We've basically left any sort of egos at the door.

Both captains delivered the same message: Their teams are so strong that they had loads of options and tough choices on whom to sit.

"We hope that we can play as well as we can to make sure that we can achieve that". I'd love to find another partner that I could go so well with again this week.

"I wouldn't expect anything less, and I think they are going to fight hard just like we are".

Adrenalin is always a good temporary fix for lingering injuries and there will be a ton of that when Thomas finally gets thrown into the mix for the first time in his career. "But this week", he quickly added, "I'm definitely Captain America". He's got that passion that the Spanish are known for.

"Beset by constant talk of Brexit, the Ryder Cup and Europe's rivalry with the seemingly one of the only galvanizing events we're likely to see across the continent in the foreseeable future".

The first tee shot at a Ryder Cup is widely regarded as the most nerve-wracking in golf and players this week will be surrounded by the biggest first-tee grandstand ever seen in the event. I don't really need any motivation.

At 23, Rahm is the youngest member of this European team by two years. He knows that himself and, therefore, expects to have someone nearly as a chaperone when the gun goes off. We really complement each other very well.

"I don't think there will be as many roars". Yesterday, for example, after the round, after Rory drove it past me 50 yards on pretty much every hole, I was on the physio table after the round with needles in me. "It didn't go over very well in the initial discussions but I'm still working on it".