McIlroy: Euro rookies in for a shock

NEW YORK • Rory McIlroy reckons the five confirmed European team Ryder Cup rookies will be in for a "rude awakening" when they get to Hazeltine next month for the Ryder Cup.

It is not that the rookies will have anything to fear in tackling the host course in Minnesota, according to golf's world No. 5. The big concern will be dealing and coping with the overwhelmingly partisan American crowds each day of the three-day biennial showdown.

European captain Darren Clarke's team includes two current Major winners in Masters champion Danny Willett and Royal Troon winner Henrik Stenson. But there are five rookies including Willett - fellow Englishman Chris Wood, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick, plus Spain's in-form Rafa Cabrera-Bello.

Clarke hailed his Hazeltine top-nine automatic qualifiers as a "fantastic blend of youth and experience" and McIlroy agreed.

"It's great we have four experienced guys in Sergio (Garcia), Justin (Rose), Henrik and myself," said the four-time Major champion at the sidelines of this week's Barclays Championship.

"Then with his three 'wildcard' picks, Darren is going to need to pick at least two of those who have plenty of experience.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during the pro-am ahead of the Barclays championship. The four-time Major champion plans to let his rookie European team-mates know what to expect during next month's Ryder Cup.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in action during the pro-am ahead of the Barclays championship. The four-time Major champion plans to let his rookie European team-mates know what to expect during next month's Ryder Cup. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

"So the onus will be on the likes of me and the others in the team to let the rookies know what to expect before and when we get to Hazeltine.

"The rookies may be playing on the PGA Tour but they're in for a rude awakening when it comes to playing in a Ryder Cup in the States as it will be tough. The whole crowd can be against you and you don't really get much reaction from them."

Clarke will announce those picks on Tuesday, with all likelihood they will come from Russell Knox, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell or Shane Lowry.

Lowry will put all his hopeful Hazeltine contenders into this week's Made in Denmark event.

McDowell, who has virtually written off his chances of making a fifth straight European team, will feature in the Barclays championship, the opening event of the FedEx Cup play-offs.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

THE BARCLAYS: DAY 2

StarHub Ch204, tomorrow, 2am

MADE IN DENMARK: DAY 2

StarHub Ch204, 5.30pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'McIlroy: Euro rookies in for a shock'. Print Edition | Subscribe