If the problem is psychological, then the backdrop of a Major, and a British one at that, is not going to make it any easier. Then again, this is a supremely talented player we are talking about, and McIlroy has proved his doubters wrong in emphatic fashion before.
He suffered the ignominy of collapsing at the 2011 Masters, but bounced back with a vengeance months later at the US Open by winning his first Major with a record score, and has added the US PGA Championship since.
It’s certainly within him to banish his Freaky Friday run to the past, even if recent history is against him, and if he can shake off that habit in this high-pressure setting, then perhaps it might just cure him for good.
I’m not shocked to see Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk near the top, but it’s great for Matteo Manassero to be challenging again and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher played some good stuff too.
Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer, a European vice-captain for this year’s competition, and a media commentator. Follow him on Twitter @torrancesam
OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP RITUALS?
DAVID CANNON, R&A PHOTOGRAPHER
I pack every type of clothing and waterproof kit I have. One of the great unpredictable features of the Open is that the weather can be anything from blistering hot and dusty to horizontal rain and hail.
WHO WILL WIN THE 2014 OPEN?
One of the world’s top players will come through because the Open is such a test of patience and belief. It’s mental strength which wins across four days. I’d like to see a Brit win this year, and McIlroy has the skills in abundance.