He was always going to be a crucial part of the 2023 Ryder Cup story, and Rory McIlroy was one of the first two players to qualify automatically for a place on Team Europe.
Alongside Spaniard Jon Rahm, McIlroy was one of the first two players to have their qualification confirmed, as the pair raced ahead of their rivals on the European points list and secured their spots by early August.
McIlroy is of course one of the world's finest golfers but he has been in a particularly rich vein of form of late - with the only achievement missing from the past 18 months a fifth Major championship victory.
If the Northern Irishman can perform to his highest standards in Rome at the end of September, playing a crucial role in any European win at the Ryder Cup would go some way to filling that void.
Before travelling to Rome, however, McIlroy will have responsibilities elsewhere - and Team Europe captain Luke Donald is expecting McIlroy to be sensible when he travels to a friend's stag do mere weeks before the Ryder Cup gets underway.
Rory McIlroy ready to play it cool at pre-Ryder Cup stag do
It has been an impressive 2023 thus far for Rory McIlroy, who approaches the Ryder Cup with two wins under his belt this year (January's Dubai Desert Classic and July's Scottish Open).
He will, however, have a bit of recuperating to do in the lead up to the tournament in Rome later this month.
In August, McIlroy revealed that his near two-week break in the run-up to the Ryder Cup would be interrupted by a friend's stag party in Mykonos, saying he would have "a few days to dry out before the Ryder Cup."
Ahead of this week's Irish Open, Team Europe captain Luke Donald said that he had no issue with McIlroy attending the stag do, but said he expected the 34-year-old to be sensible, and had told him as much when the pair discussed the trip last week:
We spoke at his house maybe ten days ago, just catching up with him, and it came up.
It's not like Rory is 22 or 21 - he understands. There's nothing wrong with going out and having some fun with your friends, but I think he's got wise enough shoulders to know that he won't go crazy, so no concerns there.
At the K Club, McIlroy also made further comment on his upcoming trip, and said that he would only be spending 48 hours on the Greek island.
The four-time Major champion said that he would not be jeopardising his performance at the Ryder Cup:
I'm sensible when I need to be. 48 hours, nice little trip - probably needed as well. From here to pracise in Rome next week to Wentworth. I get back into London on Wednesdya evening and then four good days in London to practise and get myself ready to go in Rome.
The visit to Wentworth sandwiches the stag-do alongside the Ryder Cup on the other side.
The BMW PGA Championship will be McIlroy's final port of call before the Ryder Cup, and he will be hoping to go one step better than he did last year, when he finished runner-up to fellow Irishman Shane Lowry.
Rory McIlroy carded an opening round 69 to stand on -3 after the first day of action at the Irish Open.