Rory McIlroy hails 'Bobby Mac as future of Europe's Ryder Cup team'

Rory McIlroy is more interested in the likes of Bob MacIntyre being the “future of the European Ryder Cup team” than patching up his relationship with LIV Golf rebels.

Rory McIlroy during a press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Rory McIlroy during a press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Picture: Warren Little/Getty Images.

In his first appearance since winning the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup, McIlroy is teeing up alongside 18 LIV Golf players in the BMW PGA Championship, which starts at Wentworth on Thursday.

They include four of McIlroy’s team-mates in last year’s Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, namely Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Bernd Wiesberger.

Echoing both defending champion Billy Horschel and world No 6 Jon Rahm, McIlroy believes they “shouldn’t be here” after breaking DP World Tour rules by joining Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

McIlroy decided to avoid coming face-to-face with the rebels at a DP World Tour players’ meeting at the Surrey venue on Tuesday night, but that certainly wasn’t down to him being worried by that prospect.

“I've been in the middle of it (the current divide in golf) for a long time and I know exactly what's happening and what's coming down the pipeline,” he said. “So I didn't really feel like it was needed for me to be there.”

As for his relationship with the likes of Westwood, Poulter and Garcia, McIlroy admitted that they are unlikely to be sitting down for a friendly catch up in the near future.

He also said that it was more important for people to be looking at the likes of MacIntyre and the Hojgaard twins - Nicolai and Rasmus - in terms of the Ryder Cup than dwelling on the past.

“I wouldn't say I've got much of a relationship with them at the minute,” added McIlroy. “But, if you're just talking about the Ryder Cup, that's not the future of the Ryder Cup team.

“They have played in probably a combined 25 Ryder Cups, 30 Ryder Cups, whatever it is. That's why I was talking about these ten cards (on the PGA Tour through the DP World Tour starting next season) going to the US and preparing guys to play at the top level of professional golf.

“Like that's the future of the Ryder Cup, the Højgaards, Bobby Mac, whoever else is coming up. Like they are the future of The Ryder Cup Team. That's what we should be like thinking about and talking about.”

McIlroy, who is bidding to repeat a 2014 Wentworth win before also playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Scottish soil later this month, defended himself over social media criticism about him appearing to be more loyal to the PGA Tour than the DP World Tour.

“I'm loyal to golf, that's the thing,” he said. “Golf was here way before we all were and golf will be around much longer. Golf is going to survive regardless. Like we are just a little blip on the continuum of this game.

“But you want to make sure that you leave the game in a better place than you found it. I think that's where my loyalty lies.”

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