The Open Championship: I’m ready to rock on the links again, says Rory McIlroy

McIlroy’s strong Open record makes him believe he can turn his recent poor form around and challenge for the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s this week.

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Rory McIlroy believes his form could turn around in time for him to launch a challenge at The Open Championship, as he believes he has an advantage on links courses compared to most of his rivals.

McIlroy, who won the 2014 Open and is a 22/1 shot with Planet Sport Bet to win again this week, has struggled to find his consistency over the last few months, but he believes he is ready to flick the switch and challenge at Royal St George's next week.

"When you are playing badly it is never as far away as you think it is and when you are playing well you are never that far away from playing badly again," said the four-time major winner, speaking at an event to launch the GolfPass channel on Sky Q in the UK.

"There are such fine lines in the game. Just when you think you have figured it all out it knocks you back a bit and whenever you feel you are lost you get a spark and off you go again.

"It's a very fickle game, that's the nature of it, unfortunately, and everyone who has played the game at a high level knows that.

"You just need to try to make the highs and lows. You don't want the lows to be too low but you don't want to get too above yourself or get too high or too filled with expectation because that is no good either. Being on a pretty even keel in this game is always going to stand you in good stead."

After fluffing his lines on home soil in the 2019 Open at Portrush in Northern Ireland, McIlroy is hoping to end his seven year Major championship drought this week.

"I know how to play links golf obviously, I grew up on it," he stated. "I know how to play Open Championships. Portrush wasn't what I wanted but I've had a win, a second and three other top fives.

"I feel comfortable in that environment, it's been nice to get back to links golf as I've not played links golf for two years so to familiarise myself with it has been nice.

"I'd have previously said in my career the Open was not the major which suited me the most but results would say otherwise."

Rory says Portrush pressure got to him

Reflecting further on his missed cut at Royal Portrush, McIlroy says the pressure of the moment got to him.

McIlroy was desperate to shine in front of his home fans, but an opening round of 79 left him in a desperate position that he could not save with a sparkling round of 65 on second day.

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The emotions flowed as he summed up the pain of his failure on Irish soil and, to this day, he reflects on the week with a real sense of pain.

McIlroy has thought long and hard about what went wrong on a course he knew so well and he hopes the experience has allowed him to grow as a golfer.

"I didn't approach Portrush the right way in terms of preparing myself to play in that atmosphere in front of those people," began McIlroy.

"It was almost as if once that first round was out of the way I was unburdened because I was like 'I can't win from here' and then I go out and shoot 65 on the second day.

"It's trying to feel on the first day how I felt on the second day, I think that's the key. That's just unburdening yourself.

"There are certain things you can do, mental exercises, to get into that frame of mind but in Portrush that week I certainly didn't do a good enough job and I learned from that and it's something I've obviously tried to improve on since."

Rory rejects natural talent tag

McIlroy also suggested he is irked when experts suggest he is the most talented player in golf, as he believes that suggests he lacks the work ethic to succeed.

"I don't like the talented tag because it suggests if you are naturally talented you don't work hard or practice," he added. "There is no one in the world of golf who has hit more golf balls than I have, or who has hit more golf balls than I have.

"I've been playing golf since I was two years old so the naturally-talented thing irks me as it gives off the impression I am lazy and don't work as hard, which is obviously not the case at all. I get where people are coming from but there is a lot more to it than natural ability and talent and everyone out here will tell you the same thing."

Rory McIlroy was speaking as he promoted the launch of GolfPass on Sky Q, which is available in the UK and Ireland now.

READ MORE: Can Shane Lowry reproduce his Royal Portrush magic?

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