• Open Championship

McIlroy embracing links challenge

ESPN staff
July 16, 2012 « Khan hints at change to regime with Roach | Chartbeat test »
Rory McIlroy employed his dad as brolly carrier and sounding board during Open practice © Getty Images
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Rory McIlroy has insisted he will be all business at this week's Open Championship.

The Ulsterman has been accused of taking his eye off the ball since his stunning win at last year's US Open. There has been as much written about his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki as his golf game.

He also raised eyebrows last year when effectively writing off his Open chances at Royal St George's before striking a ball in anger. He suggested he did not have the game for links golf, despite growing up on the links courses of Northern Ireland, and had no Intention of changing his approach for one week of the year.

But 12 months on and McIlroy has a different mindset. He arrived at Royal Lytham a week early for practice and is renting a house close to the course to ensure there are no distractions.

He said: "I won't be doing any of the touristy stuff while I'm here. I did all that in my amateur days, and this time I've come in with a sort of tunnel-vision plan.

"I'm going to try to embrace everything that goes with The Open - the quirky bounces, the way the weather can dictate scoring.

"But it's going to be very much a case of course-home-course-home. I'm staying at a nice place about a mile from the course, and apart from playing and practising I'll hardly step outside the door all week."

Wozniacki will not be sighted on the Lancashire coast with her focus on preparing for the Olympics.

"Caroline's not here, we celebrated her birthday together last week," McIlroy said. "It's going to be a huge couple of weeks for us; it would be great if we both had something to celebrate when we get back together."

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