McIlroy will love being top dog, says mind coach

Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:01pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - The U.S. team have made no secret of the fact they are gunning for Rory McIlroy at this week's Ryder Cup but the world number one will lap up the challenge, according to his mind coach Dr Bob Rotella.

Visiting captain Tom Watson told reporters on Monday that it always boosts the confidence of a side "whenever you beat the stud on the opposing team".

Rotella, however, said McIlroy would use the comment as an extra incentive to perform well for holders Europe when the biennial event gets underway with Friday morning's fourballs.

"Rory has a great attitude about it," Rotella told Reuters in a telephone interview from his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. "He will embrace it.

"I think he is very comfortable with being the top dog and he's going to enjoy the experience. The more people talk about how badly they want to beat him, the more he'll relish it and use that to take pressure off himself.

"The way Rory has played recently he's very comfortable with high expectations and people putting pressure on him. That's why he's the number one player in the world."

The 65-year-old American said four-times major winner McIlroy would also be able to share the burden of being the figurehead of the European team behind the scenes.

"My guess is that one advantage Rory is going to have is that he won't have to be the leader in the locker room," added Rotella who is an ambassador for sports bookmaker Betway (   Continued...

Sep 14, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Rory McIlroy hits his fourth shot on the ninth fairway during the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports