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McIlroy primed for first Ryder Cup test

Rory McIlroy has been honing his game back in Northern Ireland ahead of the Ryder Cup.
Rory McIlroy has been honing his game back in Northern Ireland ahead of the Ryder Cup.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy says he is rested and refreshed ahead of the Ryder Cup
  • McIlroy failed to qualify for the last event in the FedEx Cup playoffs in the U.S.
  • Northern Irishman is one of six rookies on the European Ryder Cup team
  • Ryder Cup begins at Celtic Manor in Wales on October 1

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy says he is ready to lead Europe's Ryder Cup charge after his recent punishing schedule in America took its toll.

The 21-year-old had been aiming to take part in the final event of the FedEx Cup playoff series but failed to make the cut to compete in the Tour Championship. Even so, he has been in action for six of the previous seven weeks.

Now McIlroy admits his enforced break from the game has been a blessing in disguise as he prepares for his first ever Ryder Cup battle against the United States.

"I was not my normal self in America the last couple of weeks. I needed to refresh my mind and I definitely feel I will be going into the Ryder Cup in a better frame," McIlroy was quoted as saying on the PGA.com website.

"I'm definitely going to look at my schedule. I've been talking to [manager Andrew Chandler] about it and we're going to look at where I went wrong, then set a better schedule.

"It's been great having the last week at home. That's when I get my best work done and I'm very happy with how it all went. Now I'm concentrating on getting my game in the best shape possible. If I can do that it's half the battle.

I was not my normal self in America the last couple of weeks. I needed to refresh my mind
--Rory McIlroy
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"Obviously it's my first experience [of a Ryder Cup] and one I'm going to try to enjoy. Hopefully the adrenaline will make me play well," he said. "I'm going to be very nervous over my first tee shot, but once you get that out of the way all you are thinking about is winning your match."

McIlroy is one of six rookies on the European team aiming to wrest the famous trophy back from the U.S. at Celtic Manor in Wales.

The Northern Irishman had been quoted as saying the Ryder Cup was nothing more than an "exhibition" last year but insists his participation in the Vivendi Trophy -- when he won four points out of five for Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe -- ignited his love of team competition.

"I sort of forgot how good it was," he said. "We won and it was great to share the win with 11 other guys. Next week is going to be fantastic. It's definitely not an exhibition, it's a great spectacle. I said exhibition last year when I was not focused on a team event."

He and fellow countryman Graeme McDowell won three points for the team as a pair in the Vivendi Trophy but McIlroy says he doesn't know if European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie will play them together.

He said: "I'm not sure. I will have a better sense when we get there [on Monday]. It worked well last year and I'd like to, but whatever Monty thinks I don't mind.

"I'm very close to 'GMac' and I think we would both love to partner each other. Hopefully we'll get a couple [of games] and try to make the most of it."