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McIlroy admits he needs to overhaul his attitude

ESPN staff
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Rory McIlroy is hoping for a return to form © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy has acknowledged that he needs to develop a better attitude in the face of adversity if he is to make his way out of his current troubles.

McIlroy, the 2011 US Open champion, has struggled for form in recent weeks - missing four of his last five cuts as he proved unable to make a strong defence of his major title at Olympic Club.

This week the 23-year-old is playing in the Irish Open at Royal Portrush - where he shot the course record of 61 as a 16-year-old - and admits that he is working on his mental approach to improve his fortunes.

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

Portrush is a welcome warm-up for next month's Open Championship, although 12 months ago McIlroy raised eyebrows by suggesting that he did not feel suited to links golf and the trying conditions that often accompany it. Again, that is something he is trying to be more comfortable with - along with the attention he will receive as the biggest home hope of victory.

"I want to try to become a better wind and bad weather player and the only way to do that is by playing in it," he noted. "I got back home at the weekend and the weather was not particularly good, but I dragged myself out and hit balls and was like 'this could actually be very beneficial for me'."

On playing in his homeland, he added: "To be honest, the last couple of years I didn't quite enjoy the tag of home favourite. I just didn't feel very comfortable with it.

"This year I really want to embrace that. You look at so many people and when they've got a home advantage it is an advantage. It should be for not just me, but for the guys from here."

As for his chances this week, McIlroy does not expect his scoring to be anywhere near as low as it was seven years ago, although he still believes he can contend for victory.

"I'd take four 69s and see what happens I think," McIlroy said. "I've put 10 days of really good work in. My game feels good - it actually felt pretty good at the US Open, it's just that if you are slightly off at a US Open it's so hard to get yourself into contention.

"In a way it couldn't be a better time to come back here and play Portrush. It brings back so many good memories and you can feed off that."

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