McIlroy can handle the US 'get Rory' strategy, says Graeme McDowell

Have Americans made error in forgetting about Europe's Ryder Cup team spirit?

The militarisation of the Ryder Cup has begun with Paul Azinger's "get Rory" campaign. Azinger, who captained the United States to victory at Valhalla four years ago, believes the subjugation of McIlroy is central to American success at Medinah for the morale boost it would provide. You will remember how Azinger based his Ryder Cup strategy on the team-building techniques adopted by the Navy Seals, the special forces unit that assassinated Osama bin Laden.

What Europe thought was sport between two teams of golfers, Azinger turned into a three-day field battle in which his "pods", groups of players within the 12, organised according to personality type, character etc, were turned into guerrilla hit squads. Azinger needn't have bothered. Europe's captain, Sir Nick Faldo, outflanked himself with a series of bizarre moves, including the madcap decision to abandon the idea of vice-captains and to rest Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia on Saturday morning.

Azinger might be overdoing the importance of McIlroy to the European team, and in thinking that way losing sight of the core strength of Europe that he went to such lengths to beat. It is precisely because Europe are a team that they have managed to win one more match than America since emerging from Great Britain and Ireland, arguably against superior individuals. Good as the world No 1 is, Jose-Maria Olazabal's team will succeed or fail as a result of the contribution of the whole.

No one understands McIlroy or the team concept better than his Northern Irish compatriot Graeme McDowell, who accepted with good grace the role of mentor handed him by captain Colin Montgomerie at Celtic Manor in 2010. After "holding McIlroy's hand" on debut in the early pairings, McDowell emerged as the hero in the singles, sinking what turned out to be the decisive putt on the 16th green.

Two years on McIlroy has won two major championships and lost another. He arrived at East Lake for the final of the FedEx Cup having already won back-to-back play-off events. Even if America were to take Azinger's advice, it would not, according to McDowell, bother McIlroy one bit. "Having a Rory McIlroy on your team is a massive plus. Last time he was a rookie and perhaps we were wrapping him in cotton wool. This time it's a matter of putting him in top gear and sending him out there.

"I'm hoping to play a few games with Rory. I think there are 10 other guys on the team who would love to play with him. He is such a great player, he would be a fairly handy partner for anybody, let's be honest. Yes, he has a big cross on his back. There is no doubt that guys will want to take his scalp and take a point off him. Tiger [Woods] always had that aura at the Ryder Cup. Guys would love to play him to win a point off him.

"Rory comes into this Ryder Cup as one of our leaders, as our best player. You have to put more responsibility on his shoulders but he is the type of guy who can handle that pressure. He has stepped up to the plate this last couple of months and I fully expect him to be on form next week."

McDowell was a subdued presence when the singles playing order was read out by Monty in Wales. His was the last name to come out. Since Europe were sitting on a sizeable lead McDowell felt he would miss the party in a meaningless singles match against Hunter Mahan, with the Ryder Cup already won. How wrong that turned out to be. He won't make that mistake again.

"At Valhalla it was all over before I had the chance to beat Stewart Cink. I thought the same was going to happen at Celtic Manor, the Europeans would be out there celebrating while I was at the back of the field trying to do my job. Little did I know it would play out in my favour. It was a pretty scary prospect, having your team-mates shouting you down the last couple of holes. But it was the highlight of my career, emotionally anyway, holing that putt on 16 and being able to finish that match off. It was such a special feeling to share that success with the team.

"It will be interesting come Sunday to see what happens. Would I be happy to be No 12, to be that guy that gets the job done? Yes, I would. That said, I will play anywhere, do what's necessary to win the Ryder Cup."

Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
Not quite what they were expecting

When teaching the meaning of Christmas backfires

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum