Rory McIlroy believes a blueprint for Europe's recent Ryder Cup success will be key to hopes of a fourth straight triumph.
Rory McIlroy says nothing can prepare Europe's six Ryder Cup rookies for the experience but believes a blueprint for their recent success will be key to hopes of a fourth straight triumph.
Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters will be taking part in the Ryder Cup for the first time at Hazeltine this week.
McIlroy has taken on a role as one of the leaders of the European team having featured in each of the three consecutive victories over the United States.
But the world number three, who is coming off a play-off win over USA's Ryan Moore at the Tour Championship that earned him the $10million FedEx Cup bonus, accepts even his wealth of experience cannot ready the raft of first-timers for the atmosphere in Minnesota.
"Look, it's an experience that we don't get any other time of the golfing year," McIlroy said at a media conference on Tuesday.
"You know, we sort of wait once every two years for a moment like that where you get on the first tee.
"It's going to be a little bit different than last time. It's going to be a sea of red out there and we're obviously the away team, the underdog. So it will be a little bit of a different vibe for us, but at the same time, it's a great rush."
Asked if his perception of the Ryder Cup changed after he competed in the matchplay tournament for the first time in 2010, McIlroy replied: "You know, I had been to Ryder Cups before. I had played in the Junior Ryder Cup. I was at the Ryder Cup in Oakland Hills in 2004. I was at the Ryder Cup in 2006 at The K Club.
"I was there and thought I knew what it was like, but there's nothing like walking onto that first tee for the first time and feeling that rush and just soaking in the atmosphere.
"So I think that's what I've tried to sort of reiterate to the rookies that are on our team. It's like, you think you know what it's like and you think you've played under pressure, but you haven't. You haven't played under what this is going to be like.
"We are very fortunate that we've had this blueprint of success for the last few years, and we feel like we just need to follow that and keep doing the same things. These blueprints are passed down from captain to captain almost, and I think that's evolved into a very successful team.
"I don't think we've got any sort of psychological edge. We anticipate how hard this is going to be. I've never been on a losing Ryder Cup team and I hope that that stays the same way on Sunday."