Darren Clarke delighted with McIlroy's surge in form and says team are "fired up" for Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup captain says he is relishing defending the title against the US

Darren Clarke

Image: David J. Phillip / AP/Press Association Images

Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke insists his team are "fired up" ahead of this week's event in Hazeltine and have taken a lot of positives from Rory McIlroy's recent spike in form.

Speaking to the BBC, the Dungannon native said the final preparations ahead of the tournament are being completed.

"It had been a long road," he said. "Obviously travelling over today it's been a long road with a lot of the team guys on the official plane all flying in and getting the guys who live here as well.

"I'm still trying to think of anything I've forgotten and I still can't quite think of anything just yet. I've only tried to do my best so the guys could get here and enjoy their week. If they enjoy their week, they'll play the way that I know they can."

World number three Rory McIlroy claimed the Tour Championship and the Fedex Cup on Sunday's night after a dramatic play-off, bagging $11.5m in prize money.

Rory McIlroy sinks a putt to clinch the Tour Championship and Fedex Cup. Image: John Bazemore / AP/Press Association Images

"Obviously it's great to see Rory play the way he can. He played great a couple of weeks ago when he won and then to do it again last night is a huge boost. To see any of your team members perform the way Rory did last night - a little bit more special for me with Rors being from home - he played fantastic and it was great to see.

"The team is all fired up and ready to go anyway, they don't really need that much more firing up. Certainly to see Rory do that, everybody on the team is proud to have him as part of the team."

Clarke was also quick to pay tribute to the late Arnold Palmer who passed away on Sunday night and said the seven time major winner did everything he could to bring the sport to the masses.

 

"We have such an icon of our sport and who probably transcended our sport. Without his desire and everything,... he grew the game. Coming over to the Open Championship in 1961, he's got it to the level that it's at today. 

"Sadly we owe him an awful lot."

He added: A lot of things are in the planning stage already, but he'll be wonderfully respected and honoured this week. And he should be."