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Sir Alex Ferguson puts McIlroy 'in a trance'

FORMER Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and two US soldiers have delivered motivational messages to golfers at the Ryder Cup.

FORMER Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has delivered a motivational speech to the European Ryder Cup team and Rory McIlroy, a Manchester United fan, was nearly hypnotised by Ferguson.

Ferguson, a 72-year-old Scotsman who retired in 2013 after a 26-year career, guided Manchester United to 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles.

"OK, everyone might not be a Man United fan, but at the same time, everyone has to respect what Alex Ferguson has done in his career and how successfully," said McIlroy.

"I was just sitting there and looking up at him, and I didn't take my eyes off him," McIlroy said. "I was sort of in this trance just listening to everything he was saying and I'm sort of thinking, 'This is all the stuff that he's probably said to Manchester United teams over the years.'"

"He's a very inspirational sort of man when he talks. He's got a lot of authority and the room just goes quiet and everyone listens. It was a great experience."

The inspiration talk on Tuesday night could make a trophy-winning difference in this week's showdown at Gleneagles, says world No.1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.

"Those things do help, those things really do. It galvanises us and brings us together," McIlroy said. "These things, they help. They are little details in the bigger picture, but it would be that half a per cent or one per cent that helps us to get back that little trophy."

For past speeches, the Europeans have employed Welsh rugby union star Gareth Edwards and then Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola.

US captain Tom Watson tried to ease the pressure on an American side that has lost seven of the past nine Ryder Cups by reminding players golf is just a game, having them meet two US Army sergeants wounded fighting in Iraq.

"I think the sobering effect of last night has put them on a good even keel. I like that," Watson said.

"We had some men who suffered nearly the ultimate sacrifice for their country... It did give perspective. That was the whole reason.

"In this cauldron of pressure, it's great to have that kind of sobering. We make it a big deal, but it's not that big a deal. It is the Ryder Cup. Yeah, there's pressure there. But you look in perspective of what those men did.

"We're playing a game for a living. That's the message."

Noah Galloway, one of the soldiers who visited the US team, tweeted, "I've had several interesting things happen to me, but I must say the moment Phil Mickelson grabbed my phone for a selfie and Rickie Fowler photobombed it is definitely one of those that top my list."

AAP

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