What Next For Rory McIlroy?

The former World No.1 may miss his first Ryder Cup session after losing both of his matches on day one

Rory McIlroy pictured on the green at the Ryder Cup
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The former World No.1 may miss his first Ryder Cup session after losing both of his matches on day one

What next for Rory McIlroy?

At the start of the week Rory McIlroy spoke about the need to conserve some energy, sadly for every European golf fan he’s achieving that but in the worst possible fashion.

This is McIlroy’s sixth straight Ryder Cup and this was the first time that he has lost both matches on the opening day, both times shaking hands as early as the 15th green.

In the morning and he and Ian Poulter lost their first five holes, if ever there was a deflating European look to the leaderboard this was it, before he and rookie Shane Lowry began brightly – he only led for one hole all day – before Harris English and, particularly, Tony Finau outplayed and out-birdied them.

By the end of the fourballs McIlroy and Lowry had contributed just one birdie apiece.

So where now for McIlroy?

It seems inconceivable that the 32-year-old will get another two goes at it on Saturday – he has never missed a session before – but quite where Captain Harrington heads next is anybody’s guess?

Maybe Harrington will take the opinion that a partnership of Poulter and McIlroy can’t start like that again, that Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele would have beaten anybody – something that McIlroy was quick to point out – and that their numbers weren’t too bad.

Or you simply cut your losses and head to Plan B.

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Europe came into the matches devoid of historic pairings and now they’re very short of obvious ideas.

McIlroy has had previous success with Sergio Garcia but the Spaniard will surely be reunited with Jon Rahm in the morning before featuring again in some shape, with or without his compatriot.

If you were a betting man then a round of afternoon fourballs for McIlroy would be the favourite to hopefully conserve some of that energy, find some form with your own ball, and a first point, before being sent out early in the singles.

Lowry admitted after his debut that things hadn’t gone to plan.

“We got unlucky today. We probably didn't play our best but we hit some good shots and got bad breaks. We probably should have given them a better match than we did but it is what it is,” he said.

As for Rory, he singled out Tony Finau’s putter as a big factor in the afternoon thumping.

“I haven't seen Tony putt as good as that in a long time. When you have got a couple of pairs like that on form, on a difficult course where it's sort of hard to make birdies and they go on runs, if you're not quite 100 per cent on top of your game, it's tough.”

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Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on skysports.com. He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.