Irvine - Rory McIlroy and his new wife Erica have embarked
on a three-week golfing and sightseeing "road trip" hoping to return
to Northern Ireland at the end of it with a second Claret Jug.
The McIlroys took fellow passengers by surprise when they drove
onto Monday morning's Belfast to Cairnryan ferry on their way to Scotland.
The newly-weds took to wheels instead of wings after McIlroy
promised American-born Erica a trip to England's picturesque Cotswolds region
after next week's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on the north-west coast.
But the first stop for McIlroy is this week's Scottish Open
at Dundonald near Irvine in Ayrshire.
It's the first time McIlroy has contested the event since
shooting a Royal Aberdeen course-record 64 on day one of the 2014 Scottish Open
and a week later heading south to lift the Claret Jug at Hoylake.
"It is nice to have the car and throw everything in the
back," he said.
"So, we're actually taking a bit of a road trip after
Birkdale as Erica already likes the British landscape.
"After The Open I have a day in London with Nike and we
are going to visit the Cotswolds."
Among McIlroy's belongings are a number of different
putters, as he tries to iron out the biggest problem area of his game -
evidenced by recording 33 putts each day in missing the cut at last week's the
"I need to focus more on my routine and how I approach
a putt," admitted McIlroy.
"But I think it's fair to say I'm trying to stay
patient but it's proving difficult.
"It always has been for me. It always has been. Because
you know, look, I feel like I am good enough to win these tournaments, and I've
shown that before.
"Yeah, I feel like all I need is, if I can get a little
spark this week and see a few putts go in and shoot a couple of good scores, I
feel like that will build a lot of confidence and that will ease that
impatience a little bit."