McIlroy was in tears after the defeat two years ago after being pushed to play first in the Sunday singles. “It was a huge vote of confidence because I was pretty low that Saturday,” McIlroy said.
“I had sat out the morning and lost in the afternoon. It was the lowest I had felt at a Ryder Cup. I would rather have been hidden somewhere in the middle of the order but that gave me a purpose. It gave me something to really, really get up for. It refocused me and got me into a different mindset.
“There was a lot going on. The team standing up and wanting me to go out first, to lead them, after the week I had meant a lot to me. That was part of the reason I got emotional, I felt like the whole team had my back. I felt empowered and a responsibility to go out there and win a point.
“It didn’t end up mattering in the Ryder Cup but the whole thing meant a lot to me.
“That was a pretty big moment in my Ryder Cup career but think of the struggles I had leading up to that and what I did afterwards. The whole run from the end of 2021, all of 2022, this year as well … it all started from that last day at Whistling Straits.”