The Loop

McIlroy keeps Ryder Cup in its proper place

September 21, 2010

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy continues to garner attention for his views on the importance of the Ryder Cup, not all of them acceptable to those who clearly wish he'd re-order his priorities

"Ryder Cup not a priority for Rory McIlroy," a headline in the Belfast Telegraph said today.

"I'd rather win any world championship event than Ryder Cup, says McIlroy," a headline in the Independent said.

Last year, McIlroy, 21, suggested that the Ryder Cup was an exhibition, that "if you win or lose, it's a great experience and you move on from it. In the big scheme of things, it's not that important of an event for me."

McIlroy was widely admonished for calling it an exhibition, a term he no longer uses to describe the Ryder Cup. Yet he won't artificially elevate it in importance, either.

"If somebody asks me whether I'd rather sink the winning putt in the Ryder Cup or win a major, it's the major every day," he said recently. "World championship or Ryder Cup? Win a world championship. At the end of the day you're going to be remembered for what you achieve in an individual sport. When I was a kid growing up practicing, I never had a putt to win the Ryder Cup. I always had a putt to win the Masters or the Open. It's just the way I feel."

Seems about right. The Ryder Cup is a team event, albeit a highly-charged and entertaining one, in what otherwise is an individual sport. Honestly, is there a player on either team who wouldn't rather win a major championship than play on a winning Ryder Cup team? Why is this even an issue?

-- John Strege