Rory McIlroy says winning the Ryder Cup would be “the icing on the cake” of an incredible year for him.
McIlroy heads to Gleneagles with his European team-mates this week sitting at No 1 in the world rankings and having won four tournaments in the last five months, including The Open and the US PGA Championship.
It has been a stunning return to form for McIlroy, who had slipped to as low as 11th in the rankings following a disappointing 2013, and now the Northern Irishman is looking to add another Ryder Cup success to his list of triumphs.
“Personally for me it would just be the icing on the cake of what’s already a fantastic year,” he said during a TV interview yesterday.
“It feels like everyone involved is just so passionate about it, and even the public get so much more passionate about it than the majors or individual tournaments.”
McIlroy helped Europe lift the cup in 2010 and 2012 and the 25-year-old revealed they were the best experiences of his career as he was able to celebrate victory as part of a team.
However, McIlroy acknowledges that playing in a team brings different pressures and he also understands just how much will be expected of him – as the world No 1 – in Scotland this week.
He said: “I’m going to have to be one of the leaders and be expected to lead by example, and that’s a big responsibility, but one I want to try and handle and try and get a few points on the board early for the team.
“It’s way better to win as part of a team. The best experiences in my golf career have been the Ryder Cup and to be able to celebrate with all these guys. It’s very special.”
McIlroy has been almost exclusively paired with countryman Graeme McDowell in his previous two Ryder Cups but it remains to be seen if the duo will link up again this week.
McIlroy did suggest, though, that there may be a few “interesting pairings” in Paul McGinley’s line-up.
“I’m very lucky that I get on well with a lot of the guys,” he added. “Graeme McDowell obviously is a big friend of mine, Poults (Ian Poulter) I’ve played with before, Sergio Garcia’s another one where we’ve got a good chemistry.
“So there’s a few guys I can play with. You might see a few interesting pairings next week.”