Rory McIlroy says he used his car park bust-up as ‘fuel’ to propel Europe to Ryder Cup victory… as ‘Rocky’ leads calls for Luke Donald to continue as captain in 2025
- Europe recaptured the Ryder Cup just hours after Rory McIlroy’s heated fracas
- McIlroy admitted the fallout with Patrick Cantlay’s caddie pushed him to glory
- He was quick to set his sights on a rare win on the road with Bethpage Black next
Rory McIlroy revealed he used his car park bust-up to propel Europe’s charge to Ryder Cup glory in Rome – then vowed that they would storm to victory again in New York in 2025.
The Northern Irishman made it four points from five matches yesterday as Luke Donald’s men recaptured the trophy hours after a fracas triggered by a fallout with USA player Patrick Cantlay’s cap-waving caddie.
‘I needed that to fuel me today,’ a delighted McIlroy said. ‘It lit a fire in the bellies of the whole team.’
And Europe’s talisman, dubbed ‘Rocky McIlroy’ by his team-mates following the spat, was quick to set his sights on a rare win on the road.
‘One of the biggest accomplishments in golf right now is winning an away Ryder Cup,’ he said. And banging the table to emphasise the point, he added: ‘That’s what we’re going to do at Bethpage.’
Rory McIlroy revealed he used his Ryder Cup car park bust-up to propel Europe’s charge
McIlroy urged captain Luke Donald to continue at Bethpage Black and even started a chant
McIlroy cruised to victory over America’s Sam Burns as the hosts won for the seventh time in a row in Europe, eventually crushing the visitors 16.5-11.5 in the Italian capital.
After a strong US fightback had frayed nerves, Tommy Fleetwood ensured his side would take the honours by securing the half-point needed with a stunning drive to 23 feet at the par-four 16th.
Knowing a decent tee shot would be enough, he described his relief at seeing the ball soar towards the green.
‘I was playing very, very well, put a swing on it and it set off straight and it wasn’t moving, and I was happy to pick the tee up and move on,’ he said.
This was an emphatic response by Europe after their 19-9 hammering at Whistling Straits in 2021 and means captain Donald may well lead the side again at Bethpage Black.
The Englishman remained tight-lipped on the subject, despite McIlroy urging him to continue and starting a chant of ‘Two more years’.
McIlroy had to be bundled into a waiting car by team-mate Shane Lowry on Saturday night amid astonishing scenes.
Four points from five matches for McIlroy helped Donald’s men recapture the famous trophy
Tempers had boiled over between McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay’s cap-waving caddie in Rome
The 34-year-old was left furious when Joe LaCava, Cantlay’s caddie, stood in his line of vision twirling his cap as he attempted to line up what would have been a match-saving putt.
Cantlay had been jeered all day by the home supporters for reportedly refusing to wear his USA cap in protest at not being paid to play. After McIlroy confronted Cantlay’s bag man on the green, tempers boiled over again in the car park.
‘I felt like I used it to my advantage,’ said McIlroy. ‘I feel the whole team came out here with a different level of focus and determination.’
Lowry joked that if matters had escalated he ‘would have had to do most of the work’.
Deflated USA captain Zach Johnson will now face big questions over his leadership after the rampant Europeans raced into a 4-0 lead on the first morning, presenting a challenge that was too big to overcome.
Johnson at least seemed to have retained his sense of humour, with a reference to the Cantlay cap farce. ‘It’s still pretty fresh and pretty raw,’ he said.
‘If I have any immediate reaction it is to tip my cap to Europe and to Luke. They played great and they earned it.’
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