RORY MCILROY is ready to be Europe’s “talisman” in next month’s Ryder Cup at Gleneagles after enjoying one of the most remarkable winning streaks in the history of golf.
The 25-year-old completed a title hat-trick in the dark here on Sunday night by adding the 96th US PGA Championship to victories in the Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in his previous two outings.
The success took McIlroy’s major haul to four, becoming the third youngest to achieve that feat after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Now the Irishman will start to turn his thoughts to a third Ryder Cup appearance when the biennial bout takes place in Scotland for the first time in more than 40 years.
Asked if his recent run of success had made him a target for the Americans in that, McIlroy replied: “Yes, of course. Definitely. I think not just how the Americans view me but how I am viewed in my own team.
“It is going to be my third Ryder Cup. I am not one of the most experienced guys, but I am going to have to be a leader. I am going to be a talisman and drive us forward. I am going to have to accept that responsibility. I am comfortable with that.”
McIlroy once described the Ryder Cup as “an exhibition” but admitted before making his debut in the 2010 match in Wales that he had regretted that comment. He formed a successful partnership with Graeme McDowell in that victory and was one of the last-day singles winners as Europe equalled the biggest last-day comeback to win again at Medinah in 2012.
“The first couple of Ryder Cups I maybe felt a bit out of place to put my hand up and offer my opinion because, who am I, I am only a rookie,” he added. “Now I have experienced a couple and I’m in a place in the game that sort of warrants I can lead the team.”