Ryder Cup 2016: Rory McIlroy form bodes well for Europe - Paul Lawrie

Rory McIlroy celebrates with the FedEx Cup after winning the Tour Championship
McIlroy says he has never been so excited going into a Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup
Venue: Hazeltine National, Minnesota Dates: 30 September-2 October
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC Two plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. Details.

Vice-captain Paul Lawrie says Rory McIlroy's recent form is a "huge boost" to Europe's Ryder Cup team ahead of this week's contest at Hazeltine.

The Northern Irishman's win in the Tour Championship, which also saw him land the $10m (£7.7m) FedEx Cup prize, was his second victory in three weeks.

"We were all in the bar watching last night when he won. It was a great moment and a huge boost," Lawrie said.

"He is obviously back to his best and that bodes well for the team."

Lawrie, 47, flew out to the United States on Monday with captain Darren Clarke and other members of the European team.

The Scot, one of five vice-captains alongside Thomas Bjorn, Sam Torrance, Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter, insists the Europeans are not fazed by the United States' billing as favourites on home soil.

"I don't think it really matters if we are the underdogs or not," Lawrie said. "Everyone is extremely happy with the team we have got. There are lot of unbelievable players in there.

Europe captain Darren Clarke (centre) and four of his vice-captains - Thomas Bjorn, Sam Torrance, Paul Lawrie and Padraig Harrington prepare to travel to the Unietd States
Lawrie (second right) travelled to the US on Monday with captain Darren Clarke and fellow vice-captains Thomas Bjorn, Sam Torrance and Padraig Harrington

"We are going to focus on what we can bring to the party, and we are all really looking forward to it.

"I think the boys will lean quite heavily on you as a vice-captain. Darren has not chosen you and is not asking for your opinion if you are not going to give it.

"I have no problem giving it if he asks me. I have known him a long time and I will give him an honest answer."

With six rookies among Europe's line-up, Lawrie hopes his two Ryder Cups as a player - both in America - will be beneficial to the team.

Lawrie contributed 3½ points to the 'Battle of Brookline' in 1999, when the US recovered from 10-6 down to win 14½-13½, a contest remembered for most of the US team invading the 17th green thinking the match was over while Jose Maria Olazabal still had a putt to halve the hole against Justin Leonard.

Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood celebrate Europe's victory at Medinah in 2012
Lawrie and Lee Westwood celebrate Europe's victory at Medinah in 2012

He also featured in the 'Miracle of Medinah' four years ago, as Europe completed a stunning comeback from 10-4 down during the Saturday afternoon fourballs to win 14½-13½, the Scot winning his singles match for a second time.

"We all know how tough it is to play out there," Lawrie added. "The fans get into it and the majority of the fans watching are American and home supporters.

"I hope to be able to pass on to the boys who have not played over there before what it is like, and what they can expect."

The first practice day is on Tuesday, with the three-day contest starting on Friday, 30 September with the first foursomes at 13:35 BST, and the fourballs scheduled to follow at 18:30 BST.

The match concludes with the singles on Sunday, 2 October, starting at 17:00 BST.

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