US Open champion Rory McIlroy believes he can cope with the added pressure on him at this week’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s.McIlroy, who took a break after his win at Congressional last month, arrived at Sandwich on Tuesday and insists he is refreshed and ready to go.”After what happened at the US Open, expectations will be high and I put high expectations on myself,” he said.”It’s been three weeks and I feel as if I’m pretty much ready to go.”The 22-year-old will be hoping to become the youngest Open champion since 1893 just a few weeks after becoming the youngest winner of the US Open since 1923.His eight-shot win at Congressional, just a few weeks after his disappointment at the Masters when he blew a final-round lead, saw his profile increase dramatically and more demands placed on his time.
But the world number four feels he is ready for this week’s challenge.”The first 10 days after winning the US Open, it was a bit hectic trying to see friends and family and going here, there and everywhere,” he said.It included two trips to Wimbledon either side of attending David Haye’s world title fight in Germany.”But the last 10 days have been good – I’ve got back into my routine and been practising a lot. I feel as if my preparation has been really good,” he added.”I knew that the time for reflection wasn’t really at this point of the season, it’s at the end – I’ve got to forget about what happened three weeks ago and just try to win another golf tournament.”The way my life seems to be going at the minute, golf is the easy bit – you go out, get away, you’re inside the ropes and have five hours to yourself out there, it’s quite nice.
“I love getting out on the golf course and I feel refreshed and really looking forward to getting out there and playing again.”The support that I’ve had from people back home, from everyone all over the world, has been pretty overwhelming. I didn’t expect it to be as hectic as it has been but it’s a very nice feeling to have that support walking onto the golf course.”My life has definitely changed and I just have to deal with everything that goes on outside the ropes. The demands on my time outside the golf course means it will be hard for me to be the person I was before I won the US Open.”I’ve always wanted to be a major champion and if to win a major you maybe have to live your life in the public eye then it’s not a bad trade-off. It’s always nice to be centre of attention now and again.
McIlroy has also defended his decision not to play a tournament between winning the US Open and lining up at Sandwich this week.”I took three weeks off before the Masters and led by four going into the final day,” he insisted. “I feel comfortable doing that and I feel like I’m ready and I’m very fresh and that’s when I feel I play my best golf.”Having the time off means I’ve been able to play a lot of links golf and familiarise myself with links conditions. Even though I’ve grown up playing in these conditions, we don’t get to play a lot of links golf nowadays so we sort of forget how to play.
“To be able to reacquaint myself with links conditions was a big thing.”I played at Royal County Down on Saturday and then on Monday evening with my Dad. It was nice to do that and I did that before the Open last year at St Andrews.”Every tournament is important but I put more emphasis on the majors. They are the ones you want to win.”I’m just focussed on purely on winning here. Everything else that is going on outside the ropes I can’t control but I can control going out there and playing the best golf I can.” – BBC