Rory McIlroy happy to avoid Grand Slam 'hype' at US Open

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McIlroy refreshed for US Open challenge
US Open
Venue: Chambers Bay, Washington Dates: 18-21 June
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 22:00 BST on Saturday and Sunday and live text updates of all four days from 19:00 on the BBC Sport website.

Rory McIlroy believes he is in a better frame of mind heading into the second major of the season at the US Open.

The 26-year-old world number one says he could not escape the "hype" at the Masters in April as he attempted to complete a career Grand Slam.

"It has been nice not to have all the attention on me. I felt that is what it was at Augusta and I couldn't get away from it," McIlroy told BBC Sport.

He finished a best-ever fourth behind winner Jordan Spieth at the Masters.

McIlroy, whose first major win was the US Open in 2011, is hungry to repeat that triumph after a two-week break from the game.

"I will be disappointed if I do not win a major this year," added the Northern Irishman. "My seasons now are based on major wins.

"I have won three times this year which is great, and lead the world rankings."

Rory McIlroy at the Royal County Down Golf Club where he missed the cut
Rory McIlroy missed the cut at the Royal County Down Golf Club - a tournament he was hosting

McIlroy followed up a victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina with back-to-back missed cuts at the PGA Championship at Wentworth and the Irish Open in May.

"Volatility in golf is actually a good thing," said McIlroy, who starts as favourite at Chambers Bay, with 21-year-old American Spieth second. "If your good weeks are really good, it far outweighs the bad weeks.

"I feel a lot better coming into this tournament than I did going into the last two. The two weeks off helped to refresh the mind a little bit. I had not played five weeks in a row for a long time.

"This is hugely important, a chance to win a second US Open and my fifth major. There was just so much hype and so much attention around Augusta."

Two-time Open champion Greg Norman on attributes of Rory McIlroy
"His attitude as a person allows him to play the way he does. He'll make a mistake and he'll laugh about it, stand up to it, apologise for it.
"Rory believes in himself. He came back from two very interesting situations in his private life, with his fiancee and the lawsuit, and he managed those extremely well for a young kid. His personality is perfect for what the game of golf needs, and that's why golf is in a fantastic state."

McIlroy said he liked the links-style course at Chambers Bay and that there would be opportunities for players to post under-par rounds.

"This is the sort of golf course that if you're just slightly off, it will magnify that," he added.

"But it will reward people who are hitting good shots and are confident and their short games are sharp."

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