McIl­roy hun­gry to end Amer­i­can Ma­jor dom­i­nance

Daily News - - SPORT - AN­DREW BOTH

RORY McIl­roy is itch­ing to start the US Open and Shin­necock Hills re­minds him a bit of home, the North­ern Ir­ish­man said yes­ter­day.

McIl­roy trav­elled to Southamp­ton af­ter the Me­mo­rial tour­na­ment on June 3 and has spent much of his time be­com­ing ac­quainted with the course.

“I’ve been here for quite a while, so (I’m) anx­ious to get started,” he said.

“I played 18 out of 19 days, so I took a day off on Satur­day just to try to recharge the bat­ter­ies.

“I’ve had a few good looks at the course over the past few days. I love the course, es­pe­cially with how the con­di­tions have been.”

McIl­roy, along with English­man Justin Rose, is among those most likely to break the re­cent Amer­i­can stran­gle­hold on ma­jor cham­pi­onships.

But the four-time Ma­jor cham­pion will have to put his Mas­ters dis­ap­point­ment be­hind him to add a sec­ond US Open tro­phy to his col­lec­tion.

Start­ing the fi­nal round at Au­gusta in sec­ond place, McIl­roy melted un­der the chal­lenge of try­ing to com­plete the grand slam of all four Ma­jors and never got go­ing af­ter a wild drive at the open­ing hole.

But week in, week out, there is no bet­ter driver in the game in terms of com­bin­ing length and ac­cu­racy, and his tech­nique, which gen­er­ates prodi­gious power, should al­low him to vary his game plan.

“I think I’ll adopt a con­ser­va­tive strat­egy off the tee,” he said. “It’s a long course (7 440 yards) on the card, but it doesn’t play as long as what it sug­gests.”

The for­mer world No 1 plans to use his driver only three or four times.

“Even if you leave your­self back and maybe hit­ting a cou­ple of ex­tra clubs into these greens, it’s not such a bad thing,” he said. “I’d rather be do­ing that than hack­ing my way out of the rough.

“That’s my strat­egy this week. I think the big­gest chal­lenge is be­ing dis­ci­plined, just stick­ing to your game plan.”

As traf­fic on the east­ern end of Long Is­land con­tin­ues to clog the area around the course, which is ac­ces­si­ble by a sin­gle road, McIl­roy at least won’t have to worry about his com­mute af­ter rent­ing a house ad­ja­cent to the course.

“I am three min­utes door to door,” he said. “It’s a nar­row strip of land and peo­ple are try­ing to get out from the city, so we’re pretty for­tu­nate.

“I played with Matt Fitz­patrick yes­ter­day and he said it took him an hour-and-a-half to get to the course.”

That is one stress McIl­roy will avoid but oth­ers await, not least his de­ter­mi­na­tion of end­ing the re­cent dom­i­nance of Amer­i­can play­ers, who hold all four ma­jor tro­phies.

“That’s a lot of pres­sure,” McIl­roy said to laugh­ter.

“They’ve had a great run… But I feel good about my game.” – Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

CON­TENDER: North­ern Ire­land’s Rory McIl­roy dur­ing prac­tice be­fore the US Open which starts at Shin­necock Hills to­day.

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