US Open

McIlroy wary of Oakmont challenge

2016-06-14 22:34
Rory McIlroy (AFP)

Oakmont - Rory McIlroy won his first major title at the 2011 US Open with a record 16-under par total, but he said there was no chance of that happening again at the feared Oakmont golf course outside of Pittsburgh.

A layout that has punishing rough, devilish greens, a par-three pushing 300 yards, a par four at 477 yards and par-five at 667 yards is no place for the faint-hearted he said.

Just matching par would be a feat, he believes, and, like every other player, he knows that he will have to douse his attacking instincts and accept that the course cannot be over-powered.

"I think you just have to be really disciplined and trust the numbers and trust that you could go a whole round here without hitting it at any pin," said the 27-year-old Northern Irishman.

"And just trust that where you're hitting it into - those spots are the best (options) and give yourself the best chance.

"I'd much rather have a 30-foot putt up the hill on these greens than even an 8-footer down the hill. You just have to be so disciplined and know that.

"I'm an aggressive player as well. So there's just going to be times where I'm going to have to rein it back a little bit."

Reining it back a bit is not what has brought McIlroy glory so far in the form of four Grand Slam titles and a world number one spot.

His runaway 2011 US Open triumph at Congressional in Washington DC was followed by an eight-stroke victory at the 2012 PGA Championships, and back-to- back majors in 2014 at the British Open and PGA Championship.

His superb shot-making skills were his greatest weapon in lifting these titles, but there remained the belief that he was still prone to make mistakes when the going was at its toughest.

With experience that has changed, he believes, and he intends to prove the point this week.

"I'd be very proud if I won on a golf course like this," he said.

"The Majors that I have won have been soft and under par and more suits my style of game. But to be able to win on a course like this with the conditions the way they are, it would maybe be my biggest accomplishment in the game.

"I definitely feel like I'm a more disciplined and more experienced player than I was a couple years ago. I can see nothing but a benefit of that this week.

McIlroy's form this year so far has been steady if not spectacular.

He won his first tournament since late last year at his home Irish Open at the end of May and he has decent form of late in the United States, finishing equal fourth at the Memorial in his last outing.

Since then he has played Oakmont four times and feels "as prepared as I can be coming in here."

After that for McIlroy it's a case of sticking to his guns.

"There's so many different ways to play this course, and I feel like I've got a good game plan to know when to be aggressive, when not to. Hopefully, I can just stick to that, and it works out, he said.

McIlroy will play the opening two rounds on Thursday and Friday in the company of Masters champions Danny Willett and American rival Rickie Fowler.

Read more on:    us open  |  rory mcilroy  |  golf


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