Johnson, who led after day two, endured a topsy-turvy display on Saturday, making six birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey to sign for a one-under-par 69.
Inevitably, next week's Ryder Cup came up, and McIlroy was asked about the comments of US captain Davis Love III, who in a radio interview this week said the USA might have assembled the best team ever.
The staff and punters at the Harbour Bar, Portrush answered "Darren's call" on Friday night when they gave Europe's Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke a rousing send-off.
The Europeans certainly have enough firepower - five of the top-12 players in the world will be teeing it up for Darren Clarke - and boast two of 2016's major winners in Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson.
"I tell you what: Playing the Tour Championship on a Sunday and getting picked to play that next week at the Ryder Cup, that's a lot of mental gravity right there", USA team member Zach Johnson said the day last month when the top eight automatic qualifiers were determined.
"There is a good chance for the U.S.to win it by four, five points, I haven't felt this way for a lot of years", Miller said.
'When you take Ian Poulter out of this team it is like tearing its heart out.
"There's a bunch of guys you just don't have that much confidence in, " Miller stated.
'Even Westwood, I don't know if he can make putts in Ryder Cup pressure.
North agreed with Westwood's belief that the United States have previously struggled to find a successful partner for Woods, admitting he could "intimidate" his team-mates, which included the likes of Justin Leonard, Steve Pate, Chris Riley and current captain Love.
Europe is going after its fourth straight victory - and ninth out of the last 11 - in the Ryder Cup next week in Minnesota at Hazeltine National.
Regardless, the first shots of the 2016 Ryder Cup have been fired with it all set to kick-off on Friday. "This is not at that level". You're throwing stuff out, ' Miller said of Love's comments. Somebody must have said, 'I'll bet you 100 bucks you wouldn't say that.' Something like that.