Published Wednesday, 26 September 2012
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The 23-year-old Ulsterman played down the comments ahead of Europe's bid to retain the trophy against the USA in Chicago.
"This week I'm not the number one player in the world," he said on Wednesday. "I'm one person in a 12-man team and that's it.
"It's a team effort. There's 12 guys striving towards the same goal. I'm just part of that."
With the action starting in two days time, Jim Furyk had already painted the bullseye on McIlroy's back by saying: "Obviously he's a marked man.
"Right now he's the present day Tiger Woods where everyone's eyes are on him."
Meanwhile winning 2010 captain Paul Azinger stated: "He can slump his shoulders. If he loses two matches that first day the whole dynamic in the European team room changes."
I think it's a huge compliment that people are saying they want to beat me and whatever. Whoever wants to take me on, they can take me on.
But McIlroy, who is expected to partner fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell, remained cool and said he's perfectly happy to be seen as the one to beat.
"I don't think I have a bullseye on my back," he continued.
"I just want to go out and get a point for the team and whether that's going out first or fourth or in the middle really doesn't make a difference to me. And it doesn't make a difference who I play. I'm going to go out there and give it my best to win that point."
Given McIlroy's recent form in America - including three wins in his last five starts - it would be a surprise if European captain Jose Maria Olazabal was to rest the US PGA champion from a session.
"I want to play as much as I can. I want to help the team out as much as I can - I feel I can do that," said the Holywood golfer.
"But I would also be very comfortable if he wanted to rest me or leave me out one or two of the sessions."
There is no doubt many Americans feel that if they can bring down McIlroy then they will be a long way towards winning back the trophy.
He will be playing his first Ryder Cup in America - but isn't worried about heckling.
"You've just got to get on with it," he shrugged. "Hopefully I won't get heckled, but if I do then you've just got to stay calm and be focused on the golf."
Two years ago McIlroy played his part in the targeting of Woods, who has been on five losing sides and only one winning one since his 1997 debut.
Olazabel believes Rory is approaching the same form Tiger reached in his prime.
The pair have never faced each other but there's a chance that could happen this week and while Woods might be telling American captain Davis Love "bring it on", McIlroy may be telling Olazabal the same thing in the privacy of the team room.