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Fergie firing up Europe’s Ryder Cup team

He’s not quite Mr Motivator, but retired Scottish football manager Sir Alex Ferguson knows how to get the best out of sportsmen.

As if a course as picturesque as Gleneagles isn’t inspiring enough, Europe’s Ryder Cup contingent will be as equipped as a sports team could possibly want to be, and going into the most prestigious team golf tournament in the world, they are an industry-best price; odds-on at 4/6 with Coral to beat the Americans.

The news about Fergie’s participation certainly seems to have appeased one particular participant on the European side. Lifelong Manchester United fan Rory McIlroy is understandably delighted to have the benefit of his hero’s hindsight, and immediately took to Twitter.

“What a great first practice day @rydercup ending with a team talk from the man himself Sir Alex Ferguson. Going to bed a happy boy!” the Northern Irishman tweeted.

Team Captain Paul McGinley, is obviously just as pleased to have such a character in Europe’s corner, and has known the Scot, who won 38 trophies in his spell at United, for a few years.

“He is a guy who I played with at pro-am about 15 years ago and when I became captain I asked if he would do it,” McGinley said.

“I always loved the way his teams played. The more I met him the more it seemed a natural fit,” the Irishman continued.

“This is not about him being a headmaster and coming in and preaching to them. This is about fun – the areas that I’ll be talking to the players about, him relating it to football and getting some football stories. So I very much like to think that we’re both coming from the same direction and he’s talking along the lines that I’ll be talking this week.”

Meanwhile, on the USA team, Rickie Fowler is relishing a battle with friend and practice partner McIlroy. The American has finished in the top five of every Major this year, while the latter has won two and regained world number one status. As a result, there is a growing consensus that both players could be an influence to the next generation of golfers.

“Between the two of us there’s definitely the possibility of something big developing,” said Fowler, who is 5/1 to be the top American at Gleneagles.

“It’s fun with him and I being buddies. We can still go home and play and practise together and then get to the course and want to beat up on each other as bad as possible.

“This definitely won’t be the last Ryder Cup we will play against each other. I said the same thing about being in the final group with him at the Open; you know it’s not going to be the last time we go up against each other.

“So the more times we can match up and have some good battles, the better. I think him and I have the chance of going back and forth for a long time. I have a little catching up to do, he has got the best of me a few times,” Fowler continued who, at 25, is also the same age as McIlroy.

“But both times I have won, he finished second. It has been fun. It will be fun to have a few more matches, especially at the Ryder Cup this year.”