McIlroy’s confidence high ahead of US Open

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy fancies his chances on ‘One Tree’ Chambers Bay and venue for this week’s U.S. Open.

The Washington State venue is a newcomer to the Major Championship roster, and among a host of anomalies has only one tree, three of the four longest par fours in the event’s history, and alternating pars on the first and 18th holes – either can be a par four or five, but they will play an aggregate par of nine for every round.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy talks at the US Open press conference (Credit: www.golffile.ie)

However, McIlroy believes that beyond the idiosyncratic nature of the course are plenty of features he is familiar with – albeit from the other side of the Atlantic.

“As with a lot of people, I really didn’t know what to expect when I got here,” said the Northern Irishman.

“I got to the course on Saturday morning, and it’s a pure links golf course.”

“Every part of this golf course is fescue; you get fescue in the United States just on the surrounding areas of the golf course, but here fairways, greens, aprons, everything is fescue.”

“It’s really like playing an Open Championship in the United Kingdom. That’s what it’s going to be like this week, apart from the fact that it’s about 20 degrees warmer.”

“I really like the golf course. I think it sets up well for my game – you’ve got to be aggressive off the tee, you’ve got to hit driver.”

“I think it’s a course where you’re going to see a lot of guys hit fairways and hit greens. But when you hit greens, you can still be 50, 60 feet away from the pin. So if you can drive the ball well and your pace putting, I think they’re going to be two really key things this week to be successful.”

Having won in Dubai, San Francisco and at Quail Hollow already this year, the 26 year old McIlroy saw his game tail off with missed cuts in his defence of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth and at Royal County Down for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

But The Open Champion believes mental fatigue played a part in both showings – they were the fourth and fifth events in a five-week run of consecutive tournaments.

McIlroy also feels that the nature of the course is similar to Hoylake, the scene of his Open triumph last year, and is likely to suit his game.

“It’s a very long golf course,” he added. “You’re wanting to hit shorter irons into these greens.

“Where I’m hitting maybe a six or a seven iron in, a lot of the field are going to be going in with five and four irons. It’s tough enough going in there with the clubs I’m going in with.”

“I think if you can carry the ball like 295, 300 in the air this week, you’re going to have a big advantage.”

“I feel like I’ve won enough in different conditions that my game is adaptable to wherever you go. When I said at the start that I feel like this course suits my game, I was talking about having that length off the tee, as I just spoke about, and having the height on the iron shots that I can get.”

“You shouldn’t hope that the golf course suits your game. I feel like I’ve got a good game plan this week to get into contention and have some success.”

“This is the sort of golf course that if you’re just slightly off, it’ll magnify that. But it’ll really reward people that are hitting good shots and are confident and their short games are sharp.”

“I definitely think this is the sort of golf course that you could see the guys that are really playing well and are confident with the setup and how they approach it, they could really separate themselves from the rest of the field.

“In a way it’s not too dissimilar to Hoylake, and I felt like at Hoylake I didn’t need to change my game that much or adapt my game that much.”

“Coming in as The Open Champion, I know that I’ve had success on links golf before, and I’ve grown up playing it, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to use that to my advantage in some way.”