McIlroy: 'Portrush Open as a once in a lifetime opportunity'

Royal Portrush course guide

Royal Portrush course guide

McIlroy, who is playing this week for the first time since last month's US Open at Pebble Beach, visited Portrush at the weekend for a practice round.

"I wanted to put my foot down from the start, and I played with the freedom I wanted to play with", he said. I need to relax and I need to just sort of let it go.

"Yes, the stands are up and it looks fantastic, but it's still the same golf course".

"One of the phrases that I've used recently is 'give myself permission.' I want to give myself permission to be free".

"As much as these weeks set you up for the week after, I'm playing with this event with two eyes firmly focused on the Scottish Open", added the 30-year-old, who has never won a tournament in Scotland. But the week before that he played perhaps his best round of the year, challenging a final-round 59 en route to a decisive victory at the RBC Canadian Open.

"I'm sort of treating it like a once in a lifetime opportunity but I still have to enjoy it". That's how I play my best golf.

"It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity, I don't know" he said.

Wimbledon 2019: Williams, Halep and Konta in action and more
Williams is now a better-than-even-money favorite to lift the trophy at 10/11 odds, according to Westgate Superbook. She will next play former No. 1 Simona Halep . "I don't know.

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. I want to get myself into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament.

"It's the same golf course I've grown up playing my whole life, and it's the same tournament that I haven't finished outside the top five for the last few years".

McIlroy is headlining the field this week at the Scottish Open, where he told reporters Wednesday his sole focus is on lifting the trophy at Renaissance.

"It's different shots, different greens, different conditions". I honestly think this peaking for majors is a little bit of a myth.

"It's a big event". I'd rather lose playing that way than lose playing conservatively and not really giving myself a chance.

Follow the Open Golf Championshop from Royal Portrush with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News Now App from 18-21 July.

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