McIlroy’s Ryder Cup career at 30
As Rory McIlroy turns 30-years-old today, we look back at his phenomenal Ryder Cup career to date.
Since making his debut aged 21 in 2010, McIlroy has been ever-present in European colours, and in 2018 the Northern Irishman became the first player to win four Ryder Cups before reaching 30.
The four-time Major winner’s first triumph in the team event came nine years ago at Celtic Manor, Wales, where he earned two points for Team Europe – one and a half of those came alongside fellow countryman Graeme McDowell.
Europe went on to win The 2010 Ryder Cup 14 ½ - 13 ½, with McIlroy’s half against Stewart Cink in match two of the Sunday singles a crucial one.
At The 2012 Ryder Cup, McIlroy would also play a key role. This time, alongside Ian Poulter.
With Europe 10-5 down in the final match on Saturday, McIlroy and Poulter battled hard to produce a crucial point for their continent after defeating Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
Cue iconic celebrations from Europe’s Postman, Poulter.
As if the task at hand wasn’t already tough enough, with Europe having to produce a historical comeback to stand any chance of winning, McIlroy didn’t exactly make things easy for himself.
After a mix up setting his alarm for the final day of the event, McIlroy had to be escorted by police and completely bypass his warm-up in order to make his match against Keegan Bradley.
Even after all this, McIlroy was able to produce a crucial 2&1 victory and help send Europe on their way to one of the most famous wins in Ryder Cup history.
Two years later, Europe took on the United States at Gleneagles.
McIlroy played alongside Sergio Garcia in the opening fourball matches, with the pair falling to a defeat by one hole to Bradley and Phil Mickelson.
However, this would ultimately spur McIlroy on, as he picked up three points in his next four matches to help Europe on their way to a 16 ½ - 11 ½ victory.
McIlroy would taste his first defeat in the competition two years later, when he formed part of the team who crossed the Atlantic to face the Americans at Hazeltine National.
Although the United States cruised to victory on home turf, McIlroy’s singles match against Patrick Reed was one of the most memorable head-to-heads in Ryder Cup history.
It was the contest between the pair on the eighth hole in particular which showed the passion, energy and sheer quality that The Ryder Cup brings out of its participants.
After holing a 55ft putt across the green, McIlroy erupted, letting out a roar before cupping his ears and telling the American fans: “I can’t hear you” – his retort after receiving a series of taunts from the home fans.
Reed would respond with a lengthy putt of his own, though, along with his own dose of hollering.
If there was ever a moment to show what a Ryder Cup means to the players, that was it.
Two years later, though, and it was back to winning ways for the three-time Race to Dubai champion at Le Golf National.
Picking up two points in five matches more than aided a dominant European side in Paris, with his 4&2 victory against Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, alongside Poulter, being the standout result.
It’s fair to say it has been an impressive Ryder Cup career so far for McIlroy, who has accumulated 13 points from 24 matches.
Having just turned 30, he’s only getting started.