Scottish Open: Rory McIlroy seeking boost in form at Dundonald Links

Rory McIlroy during his practice round on Tuesday
McIlroy was in confident mood after his practice round at Dundonald Links on Tuesday

Rory McIlroy believes he is close to a first win of a frustrating year as he warms up for the Scottish Open.

Injury and poor form has hampered the 28-year-old, who missed the cut at the Irish Open last week.

After his last Scottish Open appearance, in 2014, he won the Open at Royal Liverpool.

"I'm positive about it," said the Northern Irishman at Dundonald Links. "I'm excited about my game. I feel like I'm doing a lot of good things."

Ranked fourth in the world, McIlroy will partner Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler of the United States during rounds one and two in Ayrshire.

"It's just putting it all together, not just for one day but for four days; and not just for four days, to do it week in and week out," he said.

"I've got a busy stretch coming up and I'm excited to play.

"I might be putting a bit too much pressure on myself, but I know that it's coming around. But I'm realistic that I need to see it happen sooner, rather than later.

"I sound a bit like a broken record after a few weeks. But, really, it's not far away."

Dundonald Links is only five miles away from Royal Troon, where Stenson won the Open in stunning fashion last year.

Like McIlroy, the Swede, 41, has had an underwhelming season so far and admits he has struggled with the demands of being the Claret Jug holder.

Henrik Stenson with the Claret Jug
Stenson is looking for form before his Open defence at Royal Birkdale

"It's kind of like before and after having kids," Stenson explained. "When you have kids, your life changes and it's like you can't believe what you did with all the time you had before you had children.

"It's a little bit the same. I don't know what I did with my time before I had the Claret Jug in my possession. And I kind of treat it like my baby as well.

"It's been a busy year, but I don't want to sit here and complain about it. That's certainly not the way we look at it.

"I've been pretty good at saying no, but you've still got to do a lot of things and that impacts your focus on your game to a degree.

"For the year that you are the defending champion, every week you show up at a tournament it's new, it's fresh, they haven't seen you since you won and it's all the pictures and all the autographs and all the interviews.

"In this game, you've got to be in the moment and you've got to be focused and where you're at now and looking forward.

"And you're constantly talking about what happened six months, nine months, 12 months ago, so it's easy to be a little stuck in the past.

"I think it's going to be a bit of turning the page next week when I have to return the Claret Jug on Monday and then we're kind of looking ahead instead of looking back."

Defending champion Alex Noren, of Sweden, is in the company of England's Tyrrell Hatton and Australia's Adam Scott for the first two rounds.

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