The 151st Open: Rory McIlroy thinks he will not get carried away with the prospect of ending his nine-year major drought at The 151st Open next week.
McIlroy is one of the pre-tournament favourites for the last men’s major of the year, for the first time since the Northern Irishman completed the career Grand Slam in 2014.
The former world No. 1 won at Hoylake and added the PGA Championship a month later, but despite earning 19 major top-10s throughout that time, he has been unable to add to his four majors.
“I dealt with that [expectation] a little bit at Augusta this year,” McIlroy told Sky Sports. “I felt like my game was in great shape, but I didn’t produce as much as I needed to the first two days, which was disappointing.
“I think just playing in a golf tournament taught me a lot. 72 holes is a lengthy course. A lot of things can happen. It’s an adventure. It’s a long path to get into contention and to be there on Sunday afternoon, and there are a lot of golf shots to hit and golf to play.
“The worst thing you can do in this game is get too far ahead of yourself.”
McIlroy missed the cut at The Masters in April, but has finished in the top seven in his past five international starts, including second place at the US Open last month, with the 34-year-old hoping to improve on his near-misses there and at The Open last summer at St Andrews.
“I’m as close as I’ve ever been to winning another major,” McIlroy said. “In the last few years, my consistency in performances, particularly in the majors, has improved significantly.
“I’m overjoyed, but I had a great chance at St Andrews and a great chance in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.”
“Obviously, I need to keep putting myself in those positions, and the more times I go through them and just gaining that experience, even if I don’t win, it’ll stand by me for whenever I get myself in that position again.”