Rory McIlroy arrived to Royal Lytham and St. Annes this week as a story, but not the story, heading into the Open Championship. He prefers that than the three-week circus surrounding his arrival to Royal St. Georges last year.
“It’s been lovely just going about my business,” McIlroy said Tuesday. “It's been nice to sort of prepare and definitely not the madness that was going on last year. I've tried to keep it as low key as possible and just go out and go about my business and felt like I've done that pretty well.”
McIlroy arrived to Sandwich last year following a three-week hiatus after winning the U.S. Open by eight shots, setting a record with his 16-under winning total. He started well at the Open, but slumped on the weekend to a T-25 finish. Looking back, McIlroy said the overnight adjustment to being a major champion - and the youngest U.S. Open winner since Bobby Jones - may have curtailed his chances.
"The hype and everything was so big last year that maybe it had a little bit to do with it," he said.
After he finished, McIlroy maligned stereotypical Open Championship conditions - wind and rain. He again downplayed those on Tuesday comments as born of frustration, saying he is prepared for similar issues this week.
“If it’s like that again this week," he said. "You’re just going to have to knuckle down and focus and keep fighting and stay tough and try and shoot a score in bad conditions.”