Rory McIlroy says he was motivated by his poor Ryder Cup record against Phil Mickelson as he combined with Thomas Pieters to get Europe off to a winning start on Saturday.
The Northern Irishman was on a three-match losing run against Mickelson heading into the day’s foursomes opener, having suffered defeats in 2012, 2014 and Friday’s opening session.
But McIlroy and Ryder Cup rookie Pieters posted a 4 and 2 victory over Mickelson and Rickie Fowler to halt that run and exorcise a personal demon for the world number three.
“I think that was my fourth time up against Phil in the Ryder Cup and thankfully I was able to get one back on him,” said McIlroy. “He’s beaten me three times.”
“When I saw the draw last night, I was like, yes, I get to have a go at him again, because my record against him in the Ryder Cup isn’t what I would like it to be.
“So personally I maybe wanted it a little bit more just for that reason, but just to go out first and put a point on the board for Team Europe, that’s what we wanted to do.
“We wanted to try and start the session off in the right vein. We’ve got very similar games and I think that helps.”
McIlroy and Pieters were paired together once again for the afternoon fourballs, which Europe began trailing 6.5 – 5.5 after continuing their fightback from 4-0 down on Saturday morning.