Rory McIlory and all the European Team showed their appreciation to fans during the delay (Getty Images)

McIlroy inspired by Seve

Rory McIlroy plans to dedicate victory to Seve Ballesteros if Europe win The 2010 Ryder Cup.

by Sarah Gwynn

Ballesteros, a golfing legend who played in eight Ryder Cups and was a winning Captain in 1997, has spent the past two years recovering from four operations on a brain tumour. The Spaniard spoke to the European Team this week to wish them well and offer his support, and McIlroy was inspired by his words.

“I know we’re playing for Europe but if we were to win it would be for Seve as much as anyone,” rookie McIlroy told Sky Sports during the rain break. He was one up with Graeme McDowell against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in the morning fourballs before rain stopped play.

“When he spoke to us on the phone the other night Monty was saying ‘Thanks, Seve, that’s great’ and then Seve would say ‘Just one more thing’. You can tell how much it would mean to him to have the Ryder Cup back in European hands.”

The Northern Irishman hailed the team spirit in the European camp, adding: “It’s been so relaxed so far and everybody has gone on great. We just have to do that again. There’s going to be early starts but I’m sure everyone is looking forward to it.”

Ian Poulter was also in high spirits during the rain break as he recalled the emotions on the first tee. He and Ross Fisher were out third against Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods and were one up after three holes before play was suspended.

The English duo, like the other European pairings, were given a tumultuous reception by the fans braving the torrential rain, who chanted ‘There’s only one Ian Poulter’ as he prepared to tee off.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I knew it was going to be, and I truly think it’s an amazing experience to be able to be out there to tee off under those conditions.  It is difficult getting your ball on the tee but I tell you what, it’s an experience you’ll remember forever.

“You’re nervous but excited, so as much as you have the little butterflies, you have so much adrenaline going through your veins which is hard to control.  That’s the difficult thing, you get so much of a buzz from the crowd, your body cannot take it all in, so it’s in there waiting to get out.”

Martin Kaymer agreed with his European team-mate, saying: “Standing on the first tee is probably a moment that I will never forget in my career.  Even just thinking about that moment, I get goosebumps talking about it.”

Kaymer said playing alongside Lee Westwood was reassuring, especially with the Englishman in typically fine form to put them two up against Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson after five holes.

Asked what help Westwood had given him, Kaymer replied: “Just that he’s standing next to me.  He’s a very strong, experienced player, and when we were talking about it with Colin Montgomerie the last few days and he was asking me if I wanted to play with Lee, of course it’s such a great pleasure for me to play with such an experienced player.

“I didn’t play my best golf so far today.  Hopefully I can come back to my form as soon as possible.  Lee kept us alive.  He played solid golf. I think he’s one under after five holes now, and he made a very nice and important birdie on the second hole to get us one up after two holes.  That was important.”


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