MAN of the moment Rory McIlroy insists slipping back into competitive mode will be the easiest part of coming to terms with his breakthrough success at last month’s US Open.
The 22-year-old took three weeks off following his record breaking maiden Major victory at Congressional, a move that has been criticised by his former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie, amongst others.
McIlroy, whose media profile has exploded since his eight-shot victory in Washington, has spent the intervening period attending high-profile events including Wimbledon and David Haye’s world heavyweight title fight against Wladamir Klitschko in Hamburg.
But the Open favourite insists the time spent off the course and the practise ground has helped him to refresh his mind ahead of his attempt to win back-to-back Major titles.
He said: “It’s been three weeks and I feel as if I’m pretty much ready to go. The first 10 days after winning the US Open, it was a bit hectic trying to see everyone and going here, there and everywhere.
“But the last 10 days have been good – I’ve got back into my routine and been practising a lot. I feel as if my preparation has been really good. “The way my life seems to be going at the minute, golf is the easy bit – you go out, get away, you’re inside the ropes and have five hours to yourself out there, it’s quite nice.
“I love getting out on the golf course and I feel refreshed and really looking forward to getting out there and playing again.
“The support that I’ve had from people back home, from everyone all over the world, has been pretty overwhelming. It’s a very nice feeling to have that support walking onto the golf course.”
McIlroy, who opened up last year’s Open campaign with a stunning first round of 63 at St Andrews, added he will relish the extra attention he is certain to get on tomorrow when he tees off at 9:09am alongside South Africa’s Ernie Els and American Rickie Fowler.
“I’m the sort of person that likes to have people watching,” he said. “I like to have a little bit of a buzz in the atmosphere around the group, and I’ll enjoy it.
“It’s not going to be the first time that I’ve played in front of big crowds. Last time I played a competitive round of golf, I had a pretty big crowd following me.
“I’ll be fine. I’ve got used to it over the last few years, and it’s something I enjoy.”