Rory McIlroy hopeful for 'close to normal' Ryder Cup as qualification is set to begin in Abu Dhabi

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy is hoping to improve his approach play this year

Rory McIlroy has said he is hopeful that something close to a capacity crowd will be able to attend the Ryder Cup in Wisconsin in September.

Qualifying for the event, delayed from last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, begins this week at the Abu Dhabi Championship.

"I'm excited for the Ryder Cup," McIlroy told the European Tour website.

"I'm in a decent spot to make the [European] team; hopefully I won't need to think about that for a few months.

"Everyone involved made the right decision not to go ahead with it last year, it just wouldn't have been the spectacle that the Ryder Cup should be.

"Hopefully, with how the vaccine is being rolled out, we are starting to see some light at the end the tunnel with this pandemic.

"It may not be the full, full capacity that a Ryder Cup usually is, but hopefully it will be very close to what a normal Ryder Cup is and I am excited for that."

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy finished fifth at the Masters in November

McIlroy has finished second four times and third three times in the Abu Dhabi Championship in last eight years, and is determined to turn those close finishes into a win.

Looking ahead to the first event of 2021, and his first appearance in a European Tour event for more than a year, the 31-year-old said he needs to "take the initiative" if he is going to claim a victory.

"Historically, the first event of the season has always been a good one for me," he continued.

"I'm raring to go after the Christmas break, I've done some good practice and you come into the new season with renewed optimism and a lot of goals. I guess that has translated into some good golf here.

"I think I have got into contention so many times here and played some good final rounds but just not good enough.

"I keep getting myself into contention and someone goes out and has a really good Sunday but I need to take the initiative and have one of those really good Sundays myself to get over the line."

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport