Ryder Cup brings out energy, passion for McIlroy, Garcia

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Nothing brings out excitement and passion for Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia like the Ryder Cup, but the European stars will channel the energy quite differently this week at Whistling Straits.

Garcia will embrace the emotional thrill of the biennial team golf showdown, where he owns the all-time points lead with 25.5 points.

"The excitement that I get when I come into the Ryder Cups, it's something that I can't describe," Garcia said. "I can't tell you what happens, but it happens. It's just love for it."

McIlroy feels much the same, but tries to contain the emotional outpouring and conserve precious energy for three days of matches against the United States.

"I think the most animated I've been in my career has been at Ryder Cups," McIlroy said. "It just brings something out of you that you don't get playing individually. There's something more there when you're playing as part of a team.

"There's a lot of emotion that comes out, but you still have to try to control that, as well."

Four-time major winner McIlroy, a 32-year-old Northern Irishman, recalls well his emotional battle with US star Patrick Reed in the first Sunday singles match of the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, where his fist pumping and screams fed and fed-off a US-favoring crowd.

"I certainly will try to not be as animated and I'll try to conserve some energy. It's a long week," McIlroy said. "Whether I play all five again, we'll see, but it's a lot of golf.

"It's a lot of energy just playing, then trying to beat who you're playing against. If you try to beat the crowd, as well, it seems like a bit of an impossible task."

Learning that lesson has been part of McIlroy's maturing from fiery prodigy to experienced leader.

"I will try my best for this team and I'll try to play the best golf I possibly can, but I sort of learned quite a few things from 2016 about conserving energy," McIlroy said.

"I felt like I sort of hit a wall on the back nine against Patrick that day and I want to make sure that that doesn't happen again."

Garcia, a 41-year-old Spaniard, was taunted in 2016 about having never won a major title. Seven months later, he won the Masters.

"It just comes down to challenging yourself every match," Garcia said. "It's fun to me, the energy that you feel around the world, not only with the crowds but with your partners and with your teammates and stuff like that.

"It's something very unique and it seems to drive me to a higher level."

- 'We play for each other' -

For Garcia, the switch flips well before he arrives at the Ryder Cup.

"It probably starts as soon as you know you're in the team. It grows as you get closer to crunch time and Friday morning when everything starts, that's when it starts hitting the highest point," Garcia said.

"But it just kind of builds up as soon as you know that you're in the team. It's exciting. It means a lot. Just being a part of it, it's amazing for us."

The team aspect for golfers who are usually rivals helps bring the emotions into play.

"We play for each other," McIlroy said. "I think that's the best thing that you can do. You play for the guys that are beside you.

"You're obviously playing for your country and your continent and I guess your tour in some way, as well. But most of all, we play for each other."


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