McIlroy: 'Portrush Open is a once in a lifetime opportunity'
14 July, 2019, 05:57 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
"I look at Brooks and you see what he does in these majors and you think, wow, if he produced this sort of stuff every week, it would be very tough to compete", said Rory.
In his last Scottish Open appearance at Dundonald Links in 2017, the four-time major victor missed the cut and, though he then finished fourth in The Open at Royal Birkdale the following week, he had already put plans in place to shut down his season early that year so that he could give himself the best possible chance to try and get back to the scintilating form that saw him dominant the game when landing two majors and a WGC in the summer of 2014.
But it is inevitable that McIlroy more than anyone will have the upcoming Open championship at the back of his mind with the major returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.
But the former world number one is determined not to put too much pressure on himself.
"It obviously can go both ways", he pondered.
"I've achieved basically everything I wanted to in this game", the 30-year-old said. I think most tournaments deserve to stand on their own two feet and have some stature, and the Scottish Open is one of these events on the European Tour.
"There are a couple of things I'd still like to do".
"I expected it to feel different than it did", he said. His affinity with the Dunluce Links course goes back to his time spent there as a youth watching his father, Gerry, play the course in the annual North of Ireland Amateur.
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"I still have to enjoy it". Smell the roses. Look around. Look around. See friends and family. It's going to be such a great experience for me. I played the new holes in 2017 and played 18 holes in October.
The four-time major victor, who shot a course-record 61 there at the age of 16, will be the home favourite at the links in Northern Ireland, which he says has improved significantly since his younger days.
The Northern Irishman's participation in the Scottish Open is also a tried and tested formula. "It still just feels like Portrush to me".
"First and foremost, I want to play well here".
"It's not as if I want to just come here and go through the motions and get myself ready. You know, get yourself into contention and feel the heat of getting in there on Sunday and trying to play some good golf".
Playing well at the Renaissance Club this week, "not disrespecting this tournament" and adding to his haul of national Open titles - he reached six with the Canadian Open victory last month - means a lot to him as well.
Having had a few weeks to assess what went right in Canada and what went awry at Pebble, his Open game plan will call for more "freedom of swing". I'd rather lose playing that way than lose playing conservatively and not really giving myself a chance. When I got on the first tee, everything sort of started coming back to me: On the second tee, I aim it at the brown house, the fourth...everything started to come back.
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If she continues her trend against Halep on Saturday, she will tie Margaret Court for most Grand Slam singles titles with 24. Simona Halep won her first Wimbledon title and kept Serena Williams from winning her eighth on Saturday.
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