/ Golf

McIlroy eager to turn fortunes around at Royal Lytham

Updated: Monday, 16 Jul 2012 11:43

Rory McIlroy is hoping the rain and wind stays away this weekend
Rory McIlroy is hoping the rain and wind stays away this weekend

Rory McIlroy will be looking to eat his own words when he tees off in The Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes next Thursday.

It was a year ago that he moodily stomped off after a final round of 73 at Royal St George's saying that links golf, and especially British weather, were not to his liking.

"My game is suited for basically every golf course and most conditions, but these conditions I just don't enjoy playing in really. That's the bottom line," was how McIlroy described his feelings then about finishing well down the field.

"I'd rather play when it's 80 degrees and sunny and not much wind.

"I'm not a fan of golf tournaments that the outcome is predicted so much by the weather. It's not my sort of golf," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to America, playing in Akron, and obviously the PGA and the Irish Open is a big one for us, as well. It's a week that I sort of enjoy."

McIlroy's comments took some by surprise but many others understood, in the knowledge that the then 22-year-old Irishman had still to master the art of curbing his attacking instincts when the wind is blowing and the rain is falling.

He promptly bounced back to top form with a string of top 10 finishes and had another title win in Hong Kong en route to becoming the second youngest-ever world No.1, behind only Tiger Woods, in March.

Since then though his form has oddly deserted him with a run of missed cuts ending in failing to make it through to the weekend when defending his US Open crown in San Francisco last month.

McIlroy took some time off after his US Open flop, reappearing at the Irish Open where, armed with a new driver, he began his preparations for the British Open in suitably wet weather conditions.

It would, he said, be good experience for Lytham.

"I want to try to become a better wind player and better bad weather player, and the only way to do that is by playing in it," he said.

"Definitely in the past, if things haven't gone my way, the fight goes out of me pretty quickly, and that's something I'm working on and something that I'm trying to get better at."

In McIlroy's favour is the fact that he knows Royal Lytham reasonably well, having played there regularly as an amateur.

"Lytham is a course I like. It's very fair," he said.

"You have to hit good shots around there, and it really punishes you; the fairway bunkers are so punishing. If you hit it in, there's no chance of getting to the greens.

"It's a great course and I'm looking forward to it being on the rota, and I think a lot of guys are."