Rory McIlroy wants to play in Ryder Cup 20 more years and get over heartbreak and tears

RORY McILROY wants another twenty years of Ryder Cup action, after his tear-stained exit from Europe’s record-breaking 19-9 drubbing at Whistling Straits.

But old stagers Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter accepted this was the end for them as players – and were proud of signing off in front of their teenage sons with singles victories.

McIlroy, 32, sobbed in front of the TV cameras after his own win in the singles, over Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, saying he had ”let down my team-mates” by losing his previous three matches.

But he was in a defiant mood as Europe watched the Americans celebrating on the 18th green, and vowed to put things right in Rome in two years’ time.

McIlroy said: “There's phenomenal talent on that US team, and I think the most important thing is they have a lot of great young players who have bought into The Ryder Cup. 

“I think that was probably missing in previous generations. But guys like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth – the sort of heartbeat of that US – team, they really get the team aspect of the Ryder Cup.

“They are going to be formidable opposition from now until I'm probably not playing Ryder Cups anymore, whenever that is – in hopefully twenty years' time.

“We seem to be in a pattern where the home team has a big advantage, and it is up to us to make it count when we get to Rome. 


“You could see what this event means to me by my reaction after my singles match. This week hurt, and we’ll remember that feeling.”

Westwood, 48, looks certain to be handed the captaincy for Rome.

If his 11th Ryder Cup does prove to be his last as a competitor, finishing his match with a brilliant birdie at the last to beat Harris English was a great way to sign off – especially with 19-year-old son Sam caddying for him.

Westwood said: “I’d much rather be playing, but I’ll be 49 in April, and Father Time isn’t kind, is he?

“The result was obviously not what we wanted.

"But when it comes to the singles, you just have to take care of your own match and hope enough of the guys do the same to turn it around.

“I was proud of the fight I showed to come back from two down with four to play, to beat Harris on the last. 

“It might be my last match, and I got to share it with my son.

“These are special moments out there. You’re representing Europe, you’re representing a lot of people. 

“If you haven't got pride and passion, then it's not for you. Don't even bother turning up.”

Westwood admitted he would jump at the captaincy, and said he would probably request four wild cards instead of three – but would never ask for six, which is what American captain Steve Stricker got.

Westwood added: “For me, four picks is enough. You still want to give players a decent chance of qualifying. 

“I think if they withstand the pressure of trying to nail down an automatic place, they’ve proved they’ve got the bottle for the Ryder Cup itself.”

When you’ve played so many, been part of so many successful teams – it’s hard when you get old and you know so many of the best days are behind you

Poulter, 45, can expect to succeed Westwood as captain when the Ryder Cup returns to the States in 2025, at Bethpage Black in New York.

He said even maintaining his astonishing unbeaten run in Ryder Cup singles – six wins and one halved match – was little consolation for such a painful defeat, only his second in seven outings for Europe.

Poulter commented: “We had a 25 drive minute into the course, I’ve got Kate and Luke in the car, and there was not a lot of conversation. Your mind starts wandering.

"Is this it? Is this going to be the last match in a Ryder Cup outfit? 

“It was nice to go out and win, but obviously not good enough. In the team room on  Saturday night I was looking around wishing I was twenty again.

“That’s hard. When you’ve played so many, been part of so many successful teams – it’s hard when you get old and you know so many of the best days are behind you. It’s difficult.”

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