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The 2023 Solheim Cup has garnered the attention of the golf world for now. However, soon this focus will divert to the highly-anticipated Ryder Cup which will kick off on September 29 in the ancient city of Rome. Hence, it is not surprising to witness speculations and theories surrounding various fronts of the tournament, including Rory McIlroy and his role in the European unit.

While it is none other than the 5-time PGA Tour winner, Luke Donald, who will lead the side, questions skirt the expectations from the 4-time major winner. Until now, most of the remarks seem to point toward a united European front with an “all for one and one for all” mantra at its center. However, it still doesn’t play down the contribution needed from the veterans like McIlroy.

Rory McIlroy’s massive Ryder Cup experience puts him in a peculiar spot

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Rory McIlroy upholds a demeanor of confidence in all his gameplays. Fortunately for Europe, this is what the 34-year-old continues to carry into his appearance bearing the team’s load at the Ryder Cup. While some might find it hard to believe, the golfer seems all set to make his seventh staggering appearance at the team event, shaping his side with his steady experience.

Yet, where one would expect McIlroy to embrace this role of responsibility, the Northern Irishman has taken all measures to shed away the discussions of leadership. The former World No.1 is currently the third oldest member of his side, just behind Shane Lowry and Justin Rose.

However, the highest experienced member of this year’s biennial event never acknowledges the hierarchy on its basis in the European team. While the PGA Tour Professional was a part of the scouting mission for the side and continues to play a crucial role in distinctive decisions, the golf star ironically stands by his point of everyone holding an equal stance in the team, no matter the years of playing they bring forth.

Yet, his remarks and association with regard to the team seem to point toward a subjectively alternative role of a leader. An example of this was quite coherent when the 24-time PGA Tour winner highlighted the vital role of Edoardo Molinari in the European Ryder Cup team.

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Applauding his statistical knowledge, McIlroy stressed the contribution it has made toward the team pairings. These statements of the golf icon arguably attest to an authoritative role. Yet, he claims that Luke Donald leans only on his vice-captains and not the senior player for assistance, despite the situations depicted the opposite.

The Northern Irishman trusts his squad and captain

Bringing out praises for his compatriots, Rory McIlroy stated, “The 12 of us are on the same level, there’s no type of hierarchy.” He elaborated on the same with his own experience from 2012, where as a rookie he was not able to speak up amongst the seniors, despite holding the first spot on the rankings that year.

The professional expressed how the newer times never feel like that, which is a good sign for him. His aim remains to make the youngsters as comfortable as possible. Applauding the type of talent the team holds, McIlroy further said, “I don’t think any of these guys need their hand held in any way.”

His answer seemed a clear indication of how things have been aligned on the European side, with the captain Luke Donald playing the crucial role of a leader. Rory McIlroy, praising his team captain, divulged how Donald plays an irreplaceable factor in the current squad, especially with the kind of confidence and free will of shots he allows his team members to explore.

However, there continues to remain the factor of experience that will, undoubtedly, bring the golfer a role to play in creating an inclusive environment for the stars. To look after the rookies and make sure they remain involved is what the golf star will have to see to, despite disposing of all questions of his hand in the leadership decisions.

The camaraderie between European Ryder Cup players backs McIlroy’s leadership role

No doubt that the 4-time major champion has been adamant in conveying his point—the absence of any grading stratum. But, the fact that Rory McIlroy, along with Jon Rahm, brings a touch of seniority to the side remains. This inevitably puts the golfers especially McIlroy who has been part of many Ryder Cup rosters under the spotlight.

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The authentication of this was quite evident during the last few events on the DP World Tour. From the cheerful bonding between Viktor Hovland and Rory McIlroy to Ludvig Aberg’s almost fan reaction toward the Northern Irish golfer, all point to one thing. Concerning the latter, the Swede had commented, “He’s [Rory McIlroy] good. He’s very good, but yeah, me and Viktor wound up winning.”

 

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Also, the 2023 Tour Championship winner, Hovland had also recalled McIlroy’s grace during one of his troubled shots on the greens. He mentioned, I said, yeah, it’s probably better just to do that so we pull a Rory there,crediting the veteran for his line of thinking during quandary situations.

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Apart from this, the bond between other members of the European crew is also visible. The proof of this was evident when experienced players like McIlroy and Hovland praised the young Aberg and his growing talent. However, the question again evokes, whether it is McIlroy who takes a more leadership-oriented stance for the team or is it just his duty toward the less-experienced side? What do you think of this? Share your views in the comments.

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