McIlroy looking forward to taking on Tiger
“It has been difficult. We held a great lead and couldn’t manage to win from a perfect position (10-6 ahead). That was tough. We had guys out early on Sunday to get points and that didn’t happen. It was left to us at the back but it came down to the situation where my point didn’t matter.”
The 36-year-old revealed yesterday he had been consumed by family matters immediately after the defeat. “As soon as I got home, I had two sick kids to take care of,” Woods said. “They were not at school, they had fevers, so I had to focus on them. Then I started to speak to friends and it started to sink in. That’s when it got tough.”
Woods disputed the notion a lack of team spirit undermined the USA cause. He also confirmed an ambition to captain the side. “That’s because you weren’t in the team room, you weren’t in the team,” he answered to the claim of a shortage of collective care. “It has been the same since I first played, in 1997. That hasn’t changed. We have always been a great team unit.”
He added: “It would be a huge honour for me to be captain of a Ryder Cup team. Hopefully it will not happen in the near future because I would like to play on more but one day when my career is slowing down or over it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side of things.”
The inaugural tournament (with a purse of €4 million) is part of a bid to attract bigger sporting events to Turkey and the presence of McIlroy and Woods represents something of a coup. It will be watched live in over 50 countries.
Eight Irish players are in the field for the Portugal Masters in the Algarve, starting on Thursday, with three-time Major champion Pádraig Harrington fronting the contingent that includes Darren Clarke, Michael Hoey, Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie, Damien McGrane, Gareth Maybin and Paul McGinley. Simon Thornton is first reserve.
Although three members of Europe’s winning team are in Turkey – McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Rose – in the unsanctioned tournament, just two of them play in the regular European Tour pitstop in Portugal. Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Italian Francesco Molinari are competing in Portugal where Europe’s winning captain José Maria Olazabal makes his competitive reappearance after Medinah. England’s Tom Lewis is seeking to become the first player to successfully defend the title.