Inspirational McIlroy finally earns Cup win versus Mickelson
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy has been a talismanic figure for Europe at the last three Ryder Cups and he came up trumps once again in Saturday's foursomes, while also gaining a measure of revenge against Phil Mickelson.
With his team needing a fast start to the third session of play at Hazeltine, the Northern Irish world number three dovetailed superbly with Belgian rookie Thomas Pieters as they completed a 4 and 2 victory over Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.
The duo inspired a thrilling display by their team on a gorgeous morning of unbroken sunshine in Minnesota, with Europe winning two-and-a-half points out of a possible four against the United States to reduce the overall deficit to 6 1/2 - 5 1/2.
For McIlroy, his victory in tandem with the long-hitting Pieters had an added bonus as it was the first time in four attempts he had beaten U.S. veteran Mickelson at the Ryder Cup.
"When I saw the draw last night, I was like, 'Yes, I get to have a go at him (Mickelson) again', because my record against him in the Ryder Cup isn't what I would like it to be," McIlroy told reporters.
"Thankfully I was able to get one back on him. Personally, I may be wanted it a little bit more just for that reason but to go out first and put a point on the board for Team Europe, that's what we wanted to do."
McIlroy, along with fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, lost to Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a fourball match at Medinah in 2012.
In partnership with Spaniard Sergio Garcia, he lost to the same U.S. combination in the opening fourball encounters at Gleneagles in 2014. Continued...