Strong team spirit is natural for Europe, says McIlroy


By Tony Jimenez |

CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – The U.S. have employed a Task Force and revamped their points system to try to end Europe’s Ryder Cup dominance but one thing they cannot create is a team spirit that comes naturally, said Rory McIlroy.

Fed up with losing for the third successive edition in Scotland in 2014, the Americans set up the 11-man Task Force to identify how they could compete better.

Skipper Davis Love III also cut the number of automatic qualifiers from nine players to eight and added another captain’s pick to make four in all.

“I think there comes a point where you maybe try a little too hard,” European talisman McIlroy told a news conference at Hazeltine National on Tuesday.

“As much as we talk about our blueprint in Europe, it’s not rocket science … all the guys get on pretty well together. The culture of the European Tour is just a little bit different in terms of guys socialize a little bit more with each other.

“You’ve got Jack Nicklaus inviting all the Americans over to his house for dinner and trying to sort of really bond the team together which I think is a really great thing for them,” said world number three McIlroy.

“But we’ve never really needed to do that. That’s always just been a natural fit for us and a natural thing to do.”

Love caused a stir when he said in a recent radio interview that his side this week was “the best golf team maybe ever assembled”.

McIlroy, however, said Europe needed no added incentive as they sought to win the trophy for the ninth time in 11 attempts.

“I don’t think it’s hard for us to find extra motivation,” he explained, “because anywhere you look whether it be the sea of (American) red you see on the golf course or comments made by the U.S. captain, that gives us so much motivation already.

“If you look at worldwide wins this year Europe have 12, America have nine, so our team is good, more than ready to handle the occasion.”

Half of Europe’s 12-strong team are rookies but that is immaterial, according to Sergio Garcia.

“I think that on our tour, it’s a lot closer between the players,” said the 36-year-old Spaniard.

“I look at the European team and I couldn’t tell you a guy I wouldn’t be comfortable or happy playing with. I think that kind of says it all.”

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