Rory McIlroy feels a home Ryder Cup in Italy is the perfect stage for an overhaul of the European team.
European stalwarts Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey are unlikely to be eligible following their moves to LIV Golf.
McIlroy is set to line up alongside familiar faces Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood, but there could be a host of rookies such as Robert MacIntrye, Rasmus Hojgaard and his brother Nicolai in the mix.
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Irrespective of who is in Luke Donald’s team, the United States will arrive in Rome as hot favourites after winning the cup so impressively at Whistling Straits in 2021.
McIlroy is aware of the challenge that will face Team Europe next autumn, but feels the time is right for an overhaul of the playing roster.
“There's going to be quite a few rookies on our team, I would imagine,” McIlroy said. “With the younger guys coming through, it is time for a rejuvenation of the European Ryder Cup team. We need to blood some new guys and a home Ryder Cup is the best way to do that.”
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McIlroy feels a capacity crowd at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club will be a help to any rookies in Donald’s team.
“You've got your 13th man [the crowd] with you, so you can introduce some new guys,” the world No. 2 said. “Europe has had an unbelievable run in the Ryder Cup for the past couple of decades. But the American team is very, very strong and doesn’t have a lot of scar tissue compared to the last few teams.”
The United States secured victory in the Presidents Cup at the weekend. While it is an important event in its own right, it also allows the USA to fashion plans for the Ryder Cup the following year.
McIlroy feels that is a major help to USA captain Zach Johnson, but says they would be strong with or without a warm-up.
“They have their pairings, and they get a chance to do it every year, which I think benefits them,” McIlroy said. “We'll be the underdogs next year. And with how young this American team is, it looks like they will be very strong for a very long time.”
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