PARIS • Rory McIlroy wants no repeat of an energy fade as he adopts a calmer tone for this week's Ryder Cup than his emotional high-energy style from 2016.
The 29-year-old from Northern Ireland will try to help Europe reclaim the trophy starting tomorrow at Le Golf National after a 17-11 loss to the Americans two years ago in the biennial golf showdown.
He makes his fifth Cup start after being taught a lesson in losing an intense singles match to Patrick Reed at Hazeltine that featured loud screams and teasing from the American home crowd in Minnesota.
"I could play it for nine holes, and then it suddenly hit me. The level sort of declined after that, sort of reached its crescendo on the eighth green and the last 10 holes weren't quite as good," said the four-time Major champion yesterday.
"Surprised I had a voice left at the end of the week. It looked tiring (on video) to have to play golf like that for three days.
"I learnt a lot from that. It's good to get excited but, at the same time, if I have to be called upon to play a late match, I want to have all my energy in reserve so that I can give everything for 18 holes because I did hit a wall on that back nine on Sunday, and it cost me."
The Europeans are bidding to reclaim the trophy with a ninth win in 12 attempts while the Americans seek their first win on European soil since 1993.
"I've been excited, basically, since the last day in Hazeltine when we weren't the ones spraying champagne for a change," said McIlroy.
He is not putting any special importance on facing 14-time Major champion Tiger Woods, who snapped a five-year win drought on Sunday at the Tour Championship.
"This week, he's one of 12. We're not looking at any individual," McIlroy said. "It's great what he did on Sunday. It brings a lot of excitement to the game.
"It's great for the US team he's in the mix and it's great it has given their team a little bit of momentum.
"We're looking to beat the US team. We're not looking to just beat Tiger Woods."
The last time United States won on European soil.
Europe's traditional Cup colours will carry a hue of sadness this week as the players don yellow ribbons in tribute to Spanish amateur golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena, who was stabbed to death on a golf course in the United States last week.
Meanwhile, US captain Jim Furyk has poured cold water on the idea that Woods and Phil Mickelson could play together this week after the two players got tongues wagging on Tuesday by suggesting it could happen. When asked yesterday about the chances of pairing his two wild cards, Furyk said: "You know, I won't ever say it wouldn't happen, but it's probably not too likely. I guess nothing's out of the realm. They did play some golf yesterday. I think they both mentioned it would be a lot better pairing than it was in the past."
It could hardly not be since they lost both matches in 2004 when they paired up for the only time.
On Tuesday, Mickelson said of the prospect of a re-run: "I think we would both welcome it."
A day later, however, he was accompanied on his practice round by Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Bryson DeChambeau, the rookie looking his most likely partner. Woods was out with Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Reed.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS