Ryder Cup diary: Neil McLeman reports from Rome with three days to go
Wyndham Clark has doubled down on his confident view that he is better than Rory McIlroy by now claiming he is “better than every player”. The US Open champion is appearing in his first Ryder Cup this week after finishing as an automatic qualifier for Zach Johnson’s team.
The USA has arrived at Rome’s Marco Simone Golf & Country Club as cup holders, having completed a record 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits two years ago. But no American team has won on European soil in 30 years.
Clark delivered his first Major title in June when he held off McIlroy on the final day to win the US Open in 10 under par, one stroke fewer than the Northern Irishman.
In an interview with Golf Today, last week, the world No. 10 was asked about the prospect of facing McIlroy once more in a potential Sunday singles match.
A clearly confident Clark boldly replied: “I have tons of respect for Rory, and because of that respect, I also want to beat him. I like to think I am better than him, and I want to prove that.”
Clark’s comments have lit the blue touch paper in terms of ramping up the tension between the two sides before the action gets underway on Friday morning.
With both groups now in Rome, Clark was asked about his comments during Wednesday’s practice session and although he appeared to backtrack slightly on his claims about McIlroy, he ended by going one further with an assertion that he is actually better than any other player in the field.
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Speaking to Sky Sports, Clark said: “I think some of the stuff has been taken out of context. By no means has my career been as good as Rory McIlroy. He’s one of the best players and I said that in the interview, that I have tons of respect and I think he’s still one of the best players.
“But at the same time, I think I’m better than every player. How could you not think that? And if I don’t think that then what am I doing out here? It had nothing to do with me having any sort of arrogance or cockiness. It was more of, I was just trying to have self-belief in myself.
“It’s always funny, with a comment like that, somehow I’ll end up playing him in singles and maybe I’ll get a slice of humble pie, but at the same time I really think that I can beat anyone when I’m playing good and I’m sure anyone out here thinks the same thing.”
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