LONDON (Reuters) – Fresh from the humiliation of missing the cut at his own tournament, Rory McIlroy spent 90 minutes practising his putting at the Scottish Open on Wednesday before predicting an upturn in his fortunes.
The world number four has yet to win a tournament in a year disrupted by injury, erratic form, new clubs, his own wedding and most recently a social media spat that led him to temporarily withdrawing from Twitter.
But the 28-year-old four-times major winner said he remained in positive mood ahead of a busy few weeks which will see him contest the Scottish Open at Dundonald, which starts on Thursday, and then the British Open a week later.
Describing his last few months as “transitional”, McIlroy said: “It’s hard to sit up here and stand in front of a camera every single time and say to you guys: ‘It’s close’, because I sound a bit like a broken record after a few weeks. But really, it’s not far away.
“I felt like the 2016 season didn’t really go the way I wanted (but) I’m positive about it. I’m excited about my game. I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things. 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 told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
“Look, I’ve got a busy summer coming up. I’m potentially playing seven weeks out of eight or seven weeks out of nine. I might be putting a bit too much pressure on myself, but I know that it’s coming around. But I need to see it happen sooner, rather than later.”
There were no signs of improvement at last week’s Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart, where he was upstaged by Spain’s Jon Rahm with the sort of barnstorming performance that the Irishman once trademarked.
“I’m trying to stay patient but it’s proving difficult,” he said.
“It always has been for me. Because I feel like I am good enough to win these tournaments, and I’ve shown that before,” said McIlroy, who hit unremarkable rounds of 72 and 73 at the Irish Open.
On Wednesday, he spent 90 minutes working on his putting at the practice greens, admitting that he is looking to regain his rhythm after becoming bogged down by “technical thoughts”.
At the Scottish Open, McIlroy will look to emulate 2014 when his last tournament appearance prefaced his British Open win at Royal Liverpool, just up coast from this year’s venue of Royal Birkdale.
“There is still plenty of time to salvage the season,” he said. “But I’d rather see that happen sooner, rather than later.”
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Alison Williams)