Top golfers like Rory McIlroy do not need much encouragement to come up with a brilliant performance in major events around the world. But the Northern Irishman is motivated, more than before, to win this Ryder Cup 2016 as he wants to secure victory for his captain Darren Clarke as the duo enjoys a strong relationship.
The Ryder Cup is set to start in Minnesota on Friday, and Europe are gunning for their fourth straight title. They have been brilliant in the competition in the last 10 Ryder Cups, winning it eight times, and McIlroy does not know what it means to lose in a Ryder Cup. Since making his debut in the Ryder Cup in 2010, Europe have not lost.
The world number three golfer considers this Ryder Cup special for both him and Darren.
"I think it's special for both of us, that he is now a Ryder Cup Captain and I'm a player under him. I've always wanted the win for the captain, but probably even more so this year just because of Darren and the relationship that we have," the Associated Press quoted McIlroy as saying.
McIlroy's first met Darren on his 10th birthday in a golf club, and his words then ''practice, practice, practice,'' still rings in his ears.
"All of a sudden, I meet Darren Clarke. It was a great birthday for me. I remember him saying to me — I was chipping around the practice green and he was doing the same thing — and he just said to me, 'Practice, practice, practice.' And that's always been his motto. That day has always stuck with me, and even this week, all those memories come rushing back," McIlroy said.
Though McIlroy will be keen to win it for Darren, it is not going to be easy. The US are desperate to shine in the home course, and win the title in front of their fans. With players like Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson for Europe, they have the ammunition to deliver, but US team also comprises stars golfers like Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson, making it a competitive Ryder Cup.