McIlroy and Poulter bring experience to Friday foursomes
Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter will team up together for a fifth time when they play in the anchor match of the morning foursomes session at the 2020 Ryder Cup.
It will be the fourth Ryder Cup in which they have played in at least one session together, having won 2 and a half points from their partnership to date.
McIlroy first played alongside Poulter in the infamous Saturday afternoon fourball session in 2012, where Poulter made five consecutive birdies on their way to the crucial point that is credited as kickstarting the Miracle at Medinah.
They were next paired during the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, taking Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson all the way to the 18th in Scotland to win a half point for Team Europe.
Then during Europe’s victory at Le Golf National three years ago, McIlroy and Poulter teamed up twice.
Having been down 3-1 following the morning session, Thomas Bjorn paired the duo together for the afternoon foursomes – where they rallied from two down after the first three holes to beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 4&2. It was part of a clean sweep of wins for Europe during that session, but they would be handed their only loss to date in the Saturday morning fourballs, falling 4&3 to the successful partnership of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
Speaking ahead of their morning match against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, McIlroy said he was really excited about playing alongside Poulter and bringing that experience to the final match of the morning.
“Really excited,” said McIlroy.
“Yeah, it's almost been a decade that Poults and I have been playing in this thing, all the way back to 2012. Yeah, we've put points on the board for Europe which is really important but we've also had a lot of fun doing it. So we are going to go out there this week and enjoy ourselves and play our absolute hearts out and try to put points on the board for our team."
“It counts a lot,” Poulter added of about experience.
“We have played some great golf together through the years and this is going to be another special match. To be here, great course, it's going to be windy. It's going to be a good test, and as you said, it's about putting points on the board. We have done that a lot for Team Europe and we're going to do it again.”
One thing they are aware of is that while both Schauffele and Cantlay are rookies in the U.S. Team, they are also the current Olympic Gold Medallist (Schauffele) and current FedEx Cup Champion (Cantlay), and won two of three matches together in the 2019 Presidents Cup.
But while they are conscious of their experience, the Ryder Cup is different beast, and McIlroy has a strong belief in his partnership with Poulter.
“Yeah, they are rookies, but they are not rookies,” said McIlroy.
“I think they are very experienced players. Patrick has had a hell of a year and Xander is a great player. Probably doesn't quite compare to what a Ryder Cup is, so they will feel a little different on the first tee tomorrow. They are great players and it's going to be a great match. Poults and I just need to go out there and play our game and if we do that, we'll put some points on the board.