World No 1 Rory McIlroy believes three days as a tourist in London turned out to be the perfect preparation for his bid to win a second US Open title.
And, despite comparing the hard and fast conditions at Chambers Bay to those for the 2013 Open, McIlroy has promised there will be no repeat of the “brain-dead” performance and missed cut he suffered at Muirfield.
“I’m a completely different player,” McIlroy said yesterday. “I’m in a completely different place. I had no control of my golf game at that point in time and I feel like I’m pretty much in full control of it at the minute. I can tell you a repeat of that is definitely not going to happen.”
McIlroy, who was struggling to adapt to his new clubs in 2013 following his controversial multi-million pound switch to Nike, labelled his play “brain-dead” after covering the back nine at Muirfield in 42 in his opening 79, including putting off the 15th green into a bunker.
It took until December that year for McIlroy to register his first win of the season, after five in 2012, but the 26-year-old then recorded four victories in 2014, including his third and fourth major titles in the Open Championship and US PGA.
“Chambers Bay plays more like a links course than some links courses,” McIlroy added. “It’s so fast, so firm. It reminds me of 2013 at Muirfield and ’06 at Hoylake when Tiger (Woods) won. The course is getting burned out.”
McIlroy’s Open victory also came at Hoylake and he feels that will suit his game better than the likes of Irish Open venue Royal County Down, where strong winds contributed to a second successive missed cut after two wins in his previous four events.
“I obviously didn’t want to miss those two cuts in Europe, but I think that’s just the way I’m going to be. I’d rather in a six-tournament period have three wins and three missed cuts than six top-10s. Volatility in golf is actually a good thing. If your good weeks are really good, it far outweighs the bad weeks.
“I went to London on Thursday for a few days. I was a tourist for three days, went to the London Eye, did a lot of walking, which I didn’t know was a great preparation for this place. I think I walked about 10 miles a day, so that helped. That got me in the right frame of mind.”