McIlroy On Ryder Cup Captains - "They Don't Hit Any Shots, That's What I Always Say"

McIlroy On Ryder Cup Captains - "They Don't Hit Any Shots, That's What I Always Say"

Rory Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On Friday at East Lake, Rory McIlroy gave his thoughts on Ryder Cup captains with the event on the horizon.

McIlroy On Ryder Cup Captains - "They Don't Hit Any Shots, That's What I Always Say"

Over the last 20 years, Europe has dominated the Ryder Cup, claiming the trophy seven times in nine events.

During that period, we've seen many different captains, with Rory McIlroy (opens in new tab) potentially joining that list as his career begins to wind down.

However, on the Friday of the Tour Championship, McIlroy admitted that he's “played under some pretty average captains, and played under some really good captains and we have won both times.

Rory Ryder Cup

McIlroy with captain Paul McGinley at the 2014 Ryder Cup. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I'm not trying to play down the role of the captain, but I don't think it's as important as everyone thinks it is. The players are the ones on the golf course hitting the shots and holing the putts.”

McIlroy has been involved with five Ryder Cups (winning four), and is set to make his sixth appearance at Whistling Straits in September.

After being asked how involved European captain, Padraig Harrington (opens in new tab), had been the last few months, the 32-year-old responded, saying: “I would say a little more of a distanced captain than the last few [captains].

"I feel like Thomas [Bjorn] basically took a year and a half out from his career to really focus on the captaincy. Padraig is still pretty competitive, he's got a PGA Tour card, he plays over here. He, more than the last few captains, has had to try to balance that.”

Rory Ryder Cup

McIlroy with Harrington during the 2018 Ryder Cup. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Having played under the likes of Colin Montgomerie, José María Olazábal (opens in new tab) and Darren Clarke, McIlroy will be playing under Harrington's captaincy in 2021.

Team USA will be the slight favourites coming into the event, with the Americans looking to capture the trophy they lost at Le Golf National in 2018.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.


Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.


Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x