Walker Cup memories: Rory McIlroy, GB&I
Rory McIlroy’s last amateur event was the Walker Cup at Royal County Down, in Northern Ireland.
His reputation already was established and the support he received was overwhelming.
“I grew up playing with those guys,” McIlroy said of his team. “I grew up playing with Lloyd Saltman and Johnny Caldwell and Rhys Davies and all those guys that were on my team.”
As at many cups, the goals are not only to win or lose, but to bond – not only with their team, but also learn from the other team.
“I got to know Rickie (Fowler) really well,” McIlroy said. “Like I built up a good friendship with Rickie from the Walker Cup, and that's why we're pretty good friends was because of that event. Same with sort of D.J., (Dustin Johnson) as well, Webb (Simpson), Chris Kirk; there was a few guys on that team that were really nice guys that you sort of keep in touch with.”
But in the end for McIlroy, the team experience was overwhelming and a big part of his experience.
“It's your first real big experience of a team competition,” McIlroy said. “The honor of representing your country if you haven't done that before. It's a huge honor, and the camaraderie is great. Looking back on it, the golf was sort of a – you wanted to play well, but the experience of it was the thing that I took from it the most."