Rory McIlroy Has a Perfect Opportunity To Flip The Script And Provide Perfect Hollywood Ending At The Open

Rewind ten years and Rory McIlroy was firmly on a path towards greatness. Aged just 25, McIlroy had just won the Open championship and his fourth career major. With many believing that McIlroy had both the time and talent to become one of the game’s greats, pundits and fans would have been stunned if you had said it would have been over ten years until McIlroy would win his next major title. But remarkably for a man of his abilities that is exactly what has happened. 

In that timeframe there have been several near misses, but often the story has been of McIlroy starting slowly before going on a crazy run and eventually running out of holes. However, his last start at the U.S Open was the closest he has come to ending that streak.

Playing controlled golf on a difficult set up, McIlroy worked his way expertly into contention and with just five holes left, he led by two strokes.

With the tournament in his control, the enormity of the situation seemed to catch up with Mcllroy and he immediately ceded the advantage when missing a putt from inside two feet. With him needing to find a par going up the last to take the tournament into a playoff, McIlroy’s putting woes would strike again and he would miss another short putt to hand the advantage to Bryson DeChambeau. Needing just a par to capture his second U.S Open title, the American made no mistake and would ensure that McIlroy’s wait would continue.

Upon realising how close he had been to securing a fifth major, McIlroy couldn’t hide his disappointment and neglected his press responsibilities and swiftly released a statement that he would be taking some time away from the game.

In need of a reset, a big few weeks is coming up for the Northern Irishman who will hope to get over his heartbreak with a good showing at the Open.

Home comforts could be key

Home comforts could be key

With McIlroy plying his trade Stateside it’s easy to forget just how loved he is in the UK. Long recognised as Britain and Ireland’s next big hope, McIlroy has certainly lived up to the billing. A staunch defender of the DP World Tour and one of the best Ryder Cup players that Team Europe has ever produced, McIlroy is one of the best sportsmen to hail from Europe and fans all over the continent are desperate to see him do well.

When McIlroy missed those putts, the whole of European golf was on its knees, but after his bruising experience at Pinehurst, a return to British shores could just be what the doctor ordered.

Before McIlroy attempts to win a second Open Championship, he will instead head to the scenic town of North Berwick where he will look to defend his Scottish Open title.

Despite the presence of Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffelle, Max Homa, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, McIlroy will be the man that the vast majority of the crowd will be rooting for.

McIlroy memorably won this tournament in style last year. Trailing hometown hero Robert MacIntyre by one shot with just two holes left to play, he produced two superb birdies to dramatically win the tournament on the final hole.

In need of a pickup, a return to a course he clearly enjoys could be the perfect remedy following his U.S Open heartbreak.

McIlroy can show a champion mentality by securing Open victory

McIlroy can show a champion mentality by securing Open victory

After his narrow miss at Pinehurst, much of the post tournament chat centred around whether or not McIlroy would ever recover and win another major title. Often nerveless when he plays his golf, McIlroy’s tentativeness with the putter suggested that he lost belief when it mattered most and it's easy to see why many believe his best chance of major success has come and gone.

However, writing off a man with McIlroy’s abilities and talents could be a foolish thing to do.

Fans of McIlroy will remember his blow up at the 2012 Masters and how he bounced back to win the very next major, the PGA Championship. Like all great champions, McIlroy seems to save his best for when his back is well and truly against the wall and having had almost a month to reset and recharge his batteries, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we were to see McIlroy come out fighting.

So to the Open itself. Set to be played at Royal Troon, Troon represents a tough test where only the best will prosper. However as it showed back in 2016, if the ball is hit to the right sports there are plenty of birdies to be had.

Just like at any Open, in order to be the winner you need a slice of luck and McIlroy will certainly be hoping that luck will be on his side. With the weather in the UK set to remain miserable and with the course being located just metres from the Firth of Clyde, the wind could play havoc with the field.

As is often the way at Open Championships, being on the right side of the draw is hugely helpful and McIlroy will hope that he has lady luck on his side as he battles for major number five.

Perhaps not since his PGA Championship victory back in 2012 will McIlroy be teeing it up looking to prove the doubters wrong as much as he will here. 

Written off by almost every pundit, McIlroy will hope to put himself in a winning position once again. In professional sport you tend to learn so much more when you lose and in the aftermath of his U.S Open defeat he would have learnt a tonne.

He is formidable on the links and in his last seven starts at this famous tournament he has finished in the top 5 on five occasions. On his last appearance at Troon in 2016 he finished fifth and will be hoping to go a few places better this time around.

As he has successfully shown in the past, McIlroy will be hoping to prove all of his doubters wrong and once again prove that he has an elite mentality. With the pain of Pinehurst still very much playing on his mind, he will hope to banish it for good by lifting the famous Claret Jug for a second time.