October 1, 2023 – 9:29 PM PDT
(Reuters) ROME – The dust had barely settled on Europe’s Ryder Cup victory over the United States on Sunday, before Rory McIlroy set his sights on New York and winning the 2025 edition in hostile territory.
After suffering a chastening 19-9 loss at Whistling Straits in 2021, Europe restored their pride with a 16½-11½ win at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, leaving the US without a win on European soil since 1993.
Europe’s defeat in 2021 in Wisconsin left McIlroy in tears and the Northern Irishman shed more on Sunday, though this time for happier reasons. And he predicted more joy for his side at Bethpage Black in 2025.
“So I’ve said this for the last probably six or seven years to anyone who will listen,” second-ranked McIlroy said.
“I think one of the biggest accomplishments in golf right now is winning an away Ryder Cup. And that’s what we’re going to do at Bethpage.”
Europe last won the event in the US in 2012 when they emerged with a 14½-13½ win in Illinois, a victory dubbed the “Miracle at Medinah” after they fought back from a 10-4 deficit.
McIlroy paid tribute to the young guns in Europe’s team and said they had a bright future in the biennial team competition.
“I know I don’t have that many left,” said the 34-year-old, who played his seventh Ryder Cup.
“To see guys like Ludvig (Aberg) come in here and be an absolute stud and take everything in stride, I wish I was in his position again, looking forward to playing in 15 or 20 Ryder Cups or whatever it is he’s going to play in.
“But all the rookies who came in this year, everything, they have been absolutely amazing, and I’m just so proud to be a part of this team. It’s very, very meaningful.”
While McIlroy looked towards the youngsters, world No. 3 Jon Rahm was inspired by the legacy of Spanish Ryder Cup heroes.
Spaniard Rahm earned three points in Rome to remind fans of his countrymen Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia, who have made history in the tournament.
Garcia is the Ryder Cup’s all-time points scorer with 28½ collected over 10 editions, while the late icon Ballesteros and Europe vice-captain Olazabal picked up 22½ and 20½ respectively.
“The Spaniards have a legacy to live up to. It’s certainly not easy,” said Rahm. “It’s a lot to live up to and it’s something that really inspires me, especially when Jose is around, right. He always tells me little things to inspire me.
“Following in their footsteps and how they try to make the team better is the way I’ve approached it. I try to do my part.”
Europe captain Luke Donald, meanwhile, said they would do their part to take the fight to the Americans in 2025.
“Not many people gave us a chance after Whistling Straits. We were big underdogs. We started to show some form in the last six months, and I couldn’t be happier with the team I got,” Donald said.
“I think these guys will be around for a long time, and we’re going to put up a great fight in two years’ time.”
Meanwhile, members of the US team dismissed talk of fractures in their ranks.
A media report last Saturday suggested a split in the camp and pre-event talk of LIV golfer Brooks Koepka ploughing a lone furrow added more fuel to the fire.
However, they showed admirable fight and no little spirit in Sunday’s singles.
“I said it before the event, I thought this was the closest team that I think I’ve been in. We’ve got a great group of guys. We fought hard as a team and I wouldn’t want to do it with another group,” said Koepka.
Twice Major champion Justin Thomas agreed.
“We truly all got along, we clicked. We had a lot of fun hanging out with each other,” he said.
“Everybody is just happy to be around one another. There’s usually a couple of misfits or people that just aren’t a part of the team, but we all were one.
“The loss has absolutely nothing to do with team camaraderie because this is probably the closest team I’ve ever been a part of.”
Captain Zach Johnson admitted he had made some poor decisions but said his team gave their all.
“My overwhelming feeling is pride in these guys,” he said. “We got outplayed but we showed grit and heart. It got interesting out there. It ebbed and flowed, it had momentum. I’m proud of my guys.”