Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

Former world No. 1 and four-time major champion Rory McIlroy will make his 2018 debut this week at the European Tour's HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.

In an interview before the start of the event, the Northern Irishman had a warning for Captain Jim Furyk's yet to be determined 2018 team: Winning for a second time in as many tries will not be as easy as they think.

In 2016 at Minnesota's Hazeltine, the Americans won the biennial matches for the first time since 2008 at Valhalla.

At Le Golf National, Paris, France in September, the Americans will be looking for their first win on foreign soil since the 1993 matches at the Belfry. 

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With a solid core of young players who all appear to be close to one another on and off the course, many believe the recent luck -- or lack of -- could be changing for the U.S. side in Ryder Cup play.

McIlroy clearly hears that noise.

In story filed on Tuesday by's Alistair Tait, McIlroy said as much:

"It won't be as easy as they think it's going to be," he said.

McIlroy did concede that the American team looks better and stronger than years past.

"The Americans are very strong," McIlroy said. "For the first time they have a real cohesion. All the younger guys get along great. Jordan, JT, Rickie, Brooks, Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger, they all get on really, really well. There's a real core group of players there, young players that will be around for a long time."

McIlroy said that even as Europe won six of the eight Ryder Cups between 2002-2016, no matter what the final tally indicated, it wasn't easy.

"The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances and but it is never as easy as that, even when Europe was winning six of eight or five of seven, whatever it was," he said in the piece. "Yes Europe won and it looked dominant for a while, but the matches were always closer than that.

"The Ryder Cup's always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. We'll have a great team, and it definitely won't be as easy as they think it's going to be."

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