PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Rory McIlroy sees a more cohesive United States team and its approach to the Ryder Cup.
And he believes it is due to copying the European formula. In fact, he knows it.
“I had a good chat with Phil [Mickelson] about it at Pebble Beach [two weeks ago],” McIlroy said at the Honda Classic, where he begins play Thursday. “Obviously, Phil played a pretty big role in that. Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done. That’s what he told us.”
McIlroy noted the U.S. task force that was formed in the aftermath of a 2014 Ryder Cup loss that was the Americans’ third straight defeat and sixth in seven matches.
“[Mickelson] said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley, to all of them,” McIlroy said of the 2014 European captain.
“So they are copying what we do, and it’s working for them and it’s more cohesive; and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing … instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”
“It’s more, no this is the core of the team and this is what it’s going to be for the next handful of Ryder Cups and this is how we are going to do it,” McIlroy continued. “I think they have got it spot on.”
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were named vice captains by U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk on Tuesday for the 2018 team that will play in Paris. Both were assistants to Davis Love III two years ago at Hazeltine, where the Americans defeated Europe 17-11. Love also will be an assistant on this year’s team. And all were involved in last year’s Presidents Cup, where Stricker was the captain.
Mickelson, who along with Woods now makes up a U.S. Ryder Cup committee that includes the current captain, has played a big role behind the scenes. And Mickelson has played on every U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team dating to 1994.
“They have got a great team,” said McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland and has played on four European teams. “A lot of young players that will be around for a long time. It’s always been evenly battled. It’s not like a whitewash every time. Europe won seven of nine or whatever it is, and I think that will be pretty tough to replicate in the next few years.”