Rahm better than I was at my first Ryder Cup, says McIlroy

Jon Rahm is earning plenty of praise ahead of his Ryder Cup bow and Rory McIlroy would love to play with the Spaniard at Le Golf National.

Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy at Europe's Ryder Cup photo shoot   -  Getty Images

Rory McIlroy is anticipating "great things" from Jon Rahm at Le Golf National and believes that the youngster is a better player than he was when he made his Ryder Cup bow.

One of five rookies in the home team this week, Rahm has been tipped to thrive and continue a tradition of Spanish success in the biennial contest between Europe and the United States.

"He definitely has the fire of a Seve [Ballesteros]. He's got that passion that the Spanish are known for," said McIlroy on Wednesday.

READ: Exuberant Rahm expecting to be paired with calming influence

"We've had this WhatsApp group going, all the Ryder Cup players, and vice-captains and captains for the last few weeks, and I've been pleasantly surprised at Jon's input into it."

"To see how much he wants this and how he cares about the Ryder Cup, and how proud he is to be European, and to be Spanish, and to really be a part of this, it's been really cool to see."

"I wasn't quite as vocal in my first Ryder Cup [in 2010] as he's been, but I wasn't as good a player at my first Ryder Cup as he is."

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"So, I'm expecting some great things from Jon this week. I played 18 holes with him yesterday [Tuesday]. He seems to be playing really well. And if we do play together at some point, that would be something I'd really look forward to."

McIlroy was paired with Tiger Woods last Sunday as the 14-time major winner enjoyed a spectacular return to winning ways at the Tour Championship.

However, after struggling off the tee on his way to a final-round 74, the Northern Irishman joked: "I didn't actually have a good view from the trees. I couldn't really see what was happening too much."

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Woods is understandably the centre of attention in France, but McIlroy added: "This week, he's one of 12. We're not looking at any individuals. We're just trying to beat the US team."

"It's great what he did on Sunday. It was great for golf. It brings a lot of excitement to the game. [But] I think to focus on one player is silly, especially when I might not even see him at any point this week because I might not be on the course with him or play against him. I don't really want to speculate [on] how he's going to play or what he's going to do."

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