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Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy happy to dominate American thoughts

Rory McIlroy would have no qualms if he was targeted as a danger man by the United States at the Ryder Cup.

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The Northern Irishman tops the world's golf rankings and was mentioned, along with Ian Poutler, as a particular threat by American captain Tom Watson earlier this week.

While McIlroy won The Open Championship and The PGA Championship this year, Poulter has prevailed in all four of his singles matches at the Ryder Cup and boasts eight victories from 11 matches in the foursomes and fourballs.

Following Watson's suggestion that beating McIlroy would serve as a boost in terms of both morale and points, the 25-year-old argued that Poulter is potentially a bigger thorn in the visitors' side for the clash at Gleneagles.

Asked who he would prefer to beat if he were on the US team, McIlroy explained: "In this format, maybe Poulter because of how good his record is.

"I know Watson has been talking about targeting us but that's one-sixth of the team. There are 10 other world-class players who are just as capable of putting points on the board.

"They can target us all they want but there are other players there as well. If someone beats me they win a point. They got a point, no more, no less.

"I have a job to do, to go win points for Europe. I'm one-twelfth of a team and I'll play the same role as everyone else."

McIlroy's success this year, which saw him win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational as well as his third and fourth career majors, came after mixed results in 2012 and 2013.

However, as he prepares to begin his third Ryder Cup, after victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, McIlroy welcomed the attention that will fall on him specifically as the world's number one.

"I'm the sort of character who would enjoy that and enjoy being in the spotlight and being the one everyone is focusing on. I'll embrace that," he added.

"It comes as part of what I've done this year, being number one and all that comes with that.

"You just try handle it as best you can. We're slight favourites for a reason, we deserve to be and have played well this year and it's not something we should shy away from.

"This time last year I was coming off the back of a disappointing season. Golf is a fickle game, when you play bad you wonder how you ever played so well and when you play well you wonder how you played so bad.

"But I'm in a much better place this year than I was last year. I'm just excited to be back and trying to win it for the third time in a row.

"Even if we win this week, we're still a long way behind what the US have done over the years. You look at the records, and I mean, I think the States won, I don't know how many in a row at one stage.

"We've still got a long way to go. Europe has still got a long way to go to catch up with America."

America dominated the competition from its inception in 1927 until the European team, which first competed in the event in 1981, rose to power in 1985.

Including that edition at The Belfry, Europe have won nine of the last 14 Ryder Cups.

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