WORLD NUMBER TWO Rory McIlroy is looking forward to this week’s British Open as he bids to win the second major of his career.
The Northern Irishman heads into the tournament – to be staged at the Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England – without a top-20 finish at a major since his 2011 US Open success.
But McIlroy has played at Royal Lytham several times as an amateur and has also spent some time at the course in recent weeks with compatriot Graeme McDowell.
The 23-year-old has good knowledge of the course and is hopeful that will translate into success.
“Lytham is a course I like. It’s very fair,” McIlroy said.
You have to hit good shots around there, and it really punishes you; the fairway bunkers are so punishing. If you hit it in, there’s no chance of getting to the greens.
“It’s a great course and I’m looking forward to it being on the rota, and I think a lot of guys are.”
Conditions are expected to be difficult for players after the deluge of rain that has hit northern England in recent weeks.
It will not be easy getting out of the rough while the 204 sand traps on course are sure to test even the wisest of players.
McIlroy is excited by the challenge of playing in less than ideal conditions and is hopeful that, moving forward, he can prove to be a real fighter when things are not going his way.
“I want to try to become a better wind player and better bad weather player, and the only way to do that is by playing in it,” he said.
Definitely in the past, if things haven’t gone my way, the fight goes out of me pretty quickly, and that’s something I’m working on and something that I’m trying to get better at.”
McIlroy has been paired with South African Louis Oosthuizen and American Keegan Bradley for the first two rounds of the tournament.
In the swing: Irish eyes could be smiling on Sunday night
Massa confident of earning new Ferrari deal