Rory McIlroy: Andy Sullivan would be 'asset' for Ryder Cup

Andy Sullivan and Rory McIlroy
Andy Sullivan (left, congratulating Rory McIlroy) won more than 2m euros during the 2015 season

England's Andy Sullivan has been tipped by Rory McIlroy as an "asset" to the European team if he qualifies to make his Ryder Cup debut next year.

Sullivan finished second to McIlroy at the European Tour's season-closing World Tour Championship, to collect the biggest pay cheque of his career.

And the 28-year-old from Nuneaton is now third on the European points list.

"I know one of his goals next year is to make the Ryder Cup team and he'd be a huge asset to Europe," said McIlroy.

"Andy is some player. I said at the start of the year when we played together in Dubai how fantastic he was. He's got all the shots."

Sullivan now has only McIlroy and former Walker Cup player Matthew Fitzpatrick ahead of him on the points list to make Europe's team at Hazeltine, Minnesota, after more than doubling his previous best pay day at last month's victory at the Portugal Masters, by collecting 820,552 euros (£575,000).

Paul McGinley, Europe's Ryder Cup-winning captain at Gleneagles in 2014, said: "His game is solid, his attitude is superb and I love his tenacious spirit.

"Along with the likes of Danny Willett and Matthew Fitzpatrick, we've got a few exciting new Ryder Cup contenders."

Sullivan's big 2015 pay days
January: South African Open 1st (-11) 158,500 EurosOctober: Portugal Masters 1st (-23) 333,330 Euros
March: Joburg Open 1st (-17) 206,050 EurosNovember: World Tour Championship 2nd (-20) 820,522 euros

Paired with Sullivan on the final day in Dubai, McIlroy needed a monster putt after going into the water on 17 to see off his rival by a single shot.

"He kept on making putts. I had to dig very deep. I have to give a lot of credit to him," added the former world number one, now third in the official world rankings after an injury-curtailed year.

"I gave it everything on that front nine," added Sullivan. "I birdied a lot of holes but he just kept coming.

"When he went in the water at 17, I thought I'm back in the game, but I gave him a good teach on my line and, after my putt, I expected him to hole his and he did.

"Cometh the hour, that's what world-class players do."

His recent win in Portugal was Sullivan's third in 10 months and he finished the season eighth in the European order of merit.

"I think I've done myself proud. Portugal was a big turning point for me. I learnt a hell of lot about myself there and the qualities I possess when I go in front," he added.

"It's now just a question of doing it on a bit more consistent basis and giving myself the chance to get up on at the final tee with Rory a little bit more often."