From the official Open Website
Be under no illusion — Rory McIlroy is a serious contender this week. So says the Ulsterman who, since winning the Silver Medal for the low amateur three years ago at Carnoustie, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become one to the world’s top-ten players by the age of 21. But despite the expectation that accompanies him, expectation that has made him second-favourite to win the 150th Anniversary Open behind a certain Mr Woods, McIlroy is anything but overawed.
“I knew I’d come in here as one of the favourites, but it doesn’t put any extra pressure on me because I know if I go out and play this golf course the way that I know I can, I should have a good chance,” said the 2010 Quail Hollow Champion.
“The Open at St Andrews is probably the biggest championship that we play, and it only comes around every five years. There’s a great atmosphere and a great buzz about the place and I’m pretty confident around this golf course.
“I feel as if I’ve played well here before, so hopefully it’ll be a good week for me, and if I can go into Thursday playing the way I have been the last couple weeks, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to contend come the weekend.”
Such assertions inevitably raised eyebrows at McIlroy’s pre-event press conference today [Tuesday], leading one journalist to question why the Northern Irishman was submitting himself to unnecessary pressure. McIlroy’s response was categorical:
“I’m not putting myself under pressure to perform,” he answered. “I’m just quite confident. I’ve played well on this golf course before, and you know, I feel as if I’m hitting it well coming in.
“It just feels like it’s the right time to go out and play well and win one of these big events.”
And his final preparation?
“I actually played County Down last night with my dad at about five o’clock in the evening before I came over here, which was great.
“County Down is in great condition, and there’s a lot of shots around there that I’ll probably need for this week, so hopefully that was good preparation.”
So brimming with confidence, but with his feet firmly on the ground, Rory McIlroy heads into his third Open Championship.
“It’s going to be a very special week,” he promised.