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24 June, 2024
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Rory McIlroy sparks Europe's Ryder Cup victory

Europe reigns supreme in Ryder Cup showdown

Source: RTE

Shane Lowry has said that Europe's 2023 Ryder Cup triumph sits right alongside his Open victory at Portrush in 2019.

The Offaly man’s first major title had been the highlight of his professional career, but he said that the 16.6-11.5 win over America at Marco Simone now matches it.

"Right now, it feels better. I'd say it’s on par," he told RTÉ Sport's Greg Allen of how it felt.

"I’ve achieved some great things in golf, winning The Open in my home country being one of them, but this is something...I’m going to put that replica Ryder Cup trophy that we get right in beside the Claret Jug in my trophy case.

"That’s going to be a very proud moment for me, it’s amazing."

Luke Donald’s team entered Sunday’s singles with a five-point lead and the potential to finish things early doors with three of the top four players in the world rankings – Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland - out inside the first four games.

However, Zach Johnson’s players dug in with the outcoming landing on the tail order of Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood and Rob MacIntyre.

Lowry said that he had hoped that it wouldn’t come to that, but he was happy that they could finish the job as he and Fleetwood both guaranteed the half point needed within moments of each other.

"This is a big day in my golfing career, something that I wanted to achieve for a long, long time," Lowry said.

"My dreams have come true today to be honest. I’m looking forward to sitting back over the next few weeks and taking it all in.

"I've got six weeks off now, which is really nice and then I’m going to have to do my best to set some goals for next season but right now I don’t really care about that. I’ll try and enjoy the moment, what a day out there.

"I was hoping it wasn't going to come down to our games at the back. Me and Tommy and Bob. We talked about it in the locker-room this morning before we went out, but it did and we all showed a lot of heart, a lot of fight and thankfully we came out on the right side of it."

Lowry didn't have his highlight reel moment to match the winning putts from Graeme McDowell, Philip Walton and Paul McGinley in past Ryder Cup, but he said that those famous Irish sporting memories were prominent in his mind as he headed for the turn in his game with Spieth.

"I thought about all those Irish players in the past who had holed winning putts in the Ryder Cup and I felt like this could be my time."

"I knew going into the back nine, the Ryder Cup was potentially in my hands.

"I found it incredibly calm, I trusted my game a lot, I hit some very good shots and yeah, I made putts when in mattered.

"I showed myself and I showed everyone else how good I can be on this stage."

"There’s not many thoughts that didn’t go through my head on that back nine," he added.

"I thought about all those Irish players in the past who had holed winning putts in the Ryder Cup and I felt like this could be my time.

"To be honest, I felt if I had hit a decent shot into 17 that could have been it."

Rory McIlroy also spoke to RTÉ Sport in the aftermath of Team Europe's success in Rome and he again expressed his "disappointment" at the incident involving Patrick Cantlay's caddy Joe LaCava following their match on Saturday.

McIlroy and his playing partner Matt Fitzpatrick were beaten on the final hole by Cantlay and Wyndham Clark as the American's won the second-day Fourballs 3-1.

Cantlay made the winning putt, leading LaCava to celebrate by raising his cap to the crowd several times in close proximity to McIlroy.

Later, McIlroy had to be physically restrained by Lowry in the carpark of the Marco Simone Golf Course.

"The atmosphere we played in this week I don't think can be replicated in any other golf event in the world"

Recalling the events of late Saturday afternoon, the Hollywood golfer said: "It was an unfortunate incident.

"I was disappointed on the 18th green because I felt I played the match in the right spirit. I feel that spirit was not reciprocated to me on the 18th green. Look, we move on, we've won the Ryder Cup and that's the most important thing."

McIlroy is now a veteran of seven Ryder Cups, and outlined what makes the biennial event so special.

"Golf is a game where you win quite seldomly, you win two or three times in a year and it's a great year. We only get one opportunity at this every two years and to be surrounded by people that care about it as much as you do is very, very meaningful.

"The atmosphere we played in this week I don't think can be replicated in any other golf event in the world. That means a lot, to be able to play under that pressure and in that atmosphere, win your point and do what you're supposed to do for your team means the world to me and I'm sure it means the world to everyone else.

"These are the best days of our lives; this is why we practice and sacrifice the time and put all the hard work and hours in for. You get out there, try to let your talent shine through and hope it's good enough to get the job done."

After Europe's humbling by the USA in Whistling Straits in 2021, an event where McIlroy only picked up one point, a return of four points just outside the Eternal City was in marked contrast to the low point from two years ago.

"I'm really proud of myself, coming off Whistling Straits I don't know if I ever felt so low, not even in a Ryder Cup but in my career in general," the 34-year-old added.

"You can trace my form back to the Sunday in the Ryder Cup two years ago. It meant the world to me that these guys believed in me when I didn't believe in myself, to have a group like that around you that does believe in you it means the world to me."

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