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McIlroy ready to defend US Open title

ESPN staff
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Rory McIlroy is hoping for a slice of history © PA Photos
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Rory McIlroy says he feels "fresh" as he aims to become the first man in 23 years to win back-to-back US Open crowns.

McIlroy recently missed three consecutive cuts, but showed signs of improvement at last week's St Jude Classic. He believes that his sudden dip in form last month provided him the perfect build-up to the tournament.

"It's not like it was my fourth tournament in a row and I've been in contention for four weeks in a row and it drains you and takes a lot out of you mentally and physically," McIlroy said.

"The first couple of weeks of that stretch I had the weekend off, where I was just on the range hitting balls. So I feel fresh.

"I feel like I had a great four days up here, the weekend of Memorial and before Memphis and got some really good work done here. And I felt like as soon as I got to Memphis I was straight into the tournament, so I wasn't waiting around for it. I feel like it's worked out well for me."

Many players on the PGA Tour have stated the new par-70 Olympic Club layout for this year's event will provide the most difficult US Open venue in some years. McIlroy, who assessed the changes while training with Jack Nicklaus, is less convinced.

"Congressional and Bethpage were very similar [to each other], they were both very wet, long, tree-lined, parklike golf courses.

"This is a little more similar to Pebble [Beach]. It has that feeling about it, just with being on the coast and sort of the cool air and stuff. I'm not sure it will be quite as difficult as Pebble was a couple of years ago, but it's going to be a tough test."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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