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2012 Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy the player U.S. wants most to beat

The Ryder Cup is a collective effort, but world No. 1 Rory McIlroy is getting a little extra attention from the U.S. team.

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Jamie Squire - Getty Images

The United States hasn't had much luck in the Ryder Cup of late -- the European team has won four of the last five, and this weekend it's going for two in a row. The U.S. wants to reverse that trend and reclaim the title, but it also is particularly focused on besting the world's No. 1 golfer, Rory McIlroy. Steve Stricker says McIlroy is the player everyone on the U.S. team wants to beat:

"Rory is the guy that's playing the best golf in the world right now, and I agree that he's a guy we all want to beat. ... Whoever it may be, the No. 1 player in the world, playing the best golf in the world, we're going to want to beat that player no matter who it is. And it so happens to be Rory."

Ryder Cup opening ceremonies get underway on Thursday night, with the competition beginning Friday.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.