Rory McIlroy puts Olympics decision to one side as he targets victory at Irish Open

Rory McIlroy during Wednesday's Pro-Am
Rory McIlroy during Wednesday's Pro-Am

Olympic revelations aside, Rory McIlroy is at Fota Island this week to try and win a golf tournament and thankfully his clubs have turned up in time to help his cause.

McIlroy’s clubs failed to arrive in Dublin when he flew into Ireland on Tuesday, but reappeared in time for the Pro-Am on Wednesday afternoon.

“I’ve been disappointed with my performances in the Irish Open up until this point,” said McIlroy.

“I think I’ve managed a couple of Top 10s, and that’s really been it, So it would be good to give myself a chance to win at least and feel like I have a real chance going into the last couple of days.

“And it’s important; I think anyone, whether you’re Irish or Spanish or French, your home title is always very important to you. It would be great to win it one day.”

McIlroy was disappointed to finish well down the field at the US Open last week and admitted that his game, ‘was not exactly where I want it to be’.

“The win at Wentworth a few weeks ago was great but at the last couple tournaments, Memorial and the U.S. Open I only showed flashes of the good stuff,” added the Holywood star.

“Right now I am focused on The Irish Open and there’s a lot to play for this week.

“I’ve got a chance to go to the top of The Race to Dubai and a chance to get back into the top five in the world, so it’s not a week I’m taking lightly. I want to come here and put my best foot forward and try to get another win.”

Wednesday’s pro-am was McIlroy’s first opportunity to have a proper look at the Co Cork venue and fresh from the extreme US Open test at Pinehurst, he was relieved to see lush green fairways.

“Coming off a week like last week at Pinehurst and coming onto a golf course, any sort of golf course I guess, is going to seem relatively simple compared to looking at your yardage book and thinking, where can I actually land this to get it somewhat close to the pin?” he added.

“Being able to fire at a few more pins and have the ball stop a little quicker, it’s going to be nice.

“I’ve heard you can be aggressive off the tees and hit drivers and everything. And, I mean, I’ll have to see the golf course today, but I’m sure something 15-18-under par is probably going to be around the winning score this week.

“So you’re going to have to play well and make birdies, and, yeah, I mean, I’ll be as aggressive as I can. I’m not going to be stupid, I’m not going to go at things or hit driver off the tee when you really shouldn’t. It’s going to be nice to be able to make some birdies and shoot some low scores.”

Like McIlroy, Graeme McDowell’s record in the Irish Open could be better and the former US Open champion hopes arriving in Cork a day later than usual after playing a practice round at Open Championship venue Hoylake on Tuesday will boost his chances.

“Talking with my caddy we were saying if the sun was shining here come the weekend, going down the stretch Sunday afternoon with one of the other Irish players would be a pretty special thing to be involved in.

“I figure there will be big crowds here this weekend and I’d love to be part of that,” said Graeme.

“I do like kind of floating in under the radar in this tournament just from an energy point of view and using my time as effectively as I can.

“And sneaking in that little practice round for a major championship just takes the pressure off when it comes to the Open as well.”