Edinburgh - Europe's star-man Rory McIlroy has said on Sunday that winning next week's Ryder Cup would be "the icing on the cake" of a brilliant year.
McIlroy will head to Scotland's Gleneagles course for Europe's defence of the biennial team clash with the United States as the world's number one-ranked golfer and having won four tournaments in the last five months, including two majors -- the British Open and the US PGA.
Now he is going in search of his third Ryder Cup success, having helped Europe triumph in both 2010 and 2012.
"Personally for me it would just be the icing on the cake of what's already a fantastic year," McIlroy told Sky Sports.
"It feels like everyone involved is just so passionate about it, and even the public get so much more passionate about it than the majors or individual tournaments," the 25-year-old added.
"So it's great to be a part of; I've been a part of two winning European teams and obviously would love to make that a third this week."
But whereas he was once the promising youngster, McIlroy is now a senior player in Europe captain Paul McGinley's team.
"I'm going have to be one of the leaders and be expected to lead by example, and that's a big responsibility, but one I want to try and handle and try and get a few points on the board early for the team," McIlroy said.
"It's way better to win as part of a team. The best experiences in my golf career have been the Ryder Cup and to be able to celebrate with all these guys. It's very special."
McIlroy has tended to be paired with fellow Northern Irish star Graeme McDowell during recent Ryder Cups.
However, relations between the two friends have recently become strained as a result of McIlroy taking legal action against his former management company -- which still represents McDowell.
Nevertheless, four-time major winner McIlroy said: "I'm very lucky that I get on well with a lot of the guys. Graeme McDowell obviously is a big friend of mine, Poults (Ian Poulter) I've played with before, Sergio Garcia's another one where we've got a good chemistry.
"So there's a few guys I can play with. You might see a few interesting pairings next week, I'm not going to give much away here."
Meanwhile, 2010 US Open champion McDowell insisted he would have no qualms playing alongside McIlroy again
"Myself and the other 10 guys would all love to be paired with the world's number one player," McDowell wrote in his BBC Sport column.
"There would be a queue out of the door of players wanting to partner Rory and, absolutely, I would be among them.
"Yes, it has been a rough time over the last couple of years on the business side of things for both me and Rory because he has been involved in a lawsuit with my management company.
"And it certainly has put a stress on our relationship, but we have put those things behind us this year. If anything, our friendship has been strengthened by what we have experienced.
"We have talked about it and we would certainly love to renew our partnership again."