The 2023 Ryder Cup is on the horizon—a thunderous storm cloud forming in the blue skies above Rome. This week, both the European and U.S. teams got their first taste of Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, showing up Monday for name games, ice breakers and, of course, plenty of range reps. The atmosphere, in stark contrast to the cauldron to come, was fun and jovial, as evidenced by this clip of Team Europe star Rory McIlroy sending a tee shot into orbit with his hat facing the wrong way. Prepare for launch.

Prayers up for the golf fashion police, but also the U.S. Ryder Cup team. The last thing they want to see is Rory McIlroy looking looser than Viktor Hovland (who is also pretty good, by the way) in the build up to the biennial brouhaha. McIlroy led the PGA Tour in driving distance this season, averaging an almost unfathomable 326.3 yards off the tee. Needless to say, his driver will be one of Team Europe’s biggest weapons at Marco Simone in a few weeks’ time.

The good news for the stars n’ stripes is that this McIlroy tee shot came less than 24 hours after he splashed four balls during the final round of the Irish Open. Clearly his ball striking could use a tune up before the transatlantic tempest kicks off in full. The best athletes have the shortest memory spans, however, and Rory looks like he’s forgotten about Sunday at The K Club already.

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