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Canadian Open is not just preparation for major bid, says Rory McIlroy


Fired-up: Rory McIlroy
Fired-up: Rory McIlroy

By Robert Jones

Rory McIlroy maintains he is not just using his debut today at the RBC Canadian Open as preparation for an assault on the US Open title at Pebble Beach.

The 30-year-old Ulsterman heads to Hamilton looking to build momentum into the third Major of the year and on the back of a disappointing performance at the Memorial Tournament.

Having missed the cut in each of the past three US Opens, McIlroy believes delivering a strong showing through all four rounds in Ontario will be crucial.

“This isn’t just a preparation week. This is a very prestigious tournament, one of the oldest tournaments in the world that I would dearly love to be able to add my name to,” said McIlroy, who claimed his first Major triumph with victory in the 2011 US Open at Congressional.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about Hamilton and I’m excited to be here.

“It’s a very strategic golf course. You’ve got to put it in play off the tee, and I’m definitely going to have to drive it better this week than I did last week.

“There’s a variety of different tee shots that you need to hit, with different clubs, and the greens are going to be a very similar type of grass.”

McIlroy added: "I'm fully focused on this week, but knowing that if I play well here this week, and have good control of my ball and my distance control, that will serve me well going into next week."

However, the 30-year-old did admit that he would have to rectify his recent poor record at the US Open - which starts next Thursday - if he wants to add to his Major haul.

McIlroy has missed the cut at the last three US Opens and is hoping that Pebble Beach will be a slightly less foreboding challenge than some of the previous courses the tournament has been held at.

"My recent showings in the US Open have been pathetic," McIlroy said. "So that's why I've changed it up this year by playing the week before.

"Look at my record, I always seem to play better on my third week (in a row)."

McIlroy was one of several high-profile names to criticise the USGA, the organisers of the year's third Major, for how the courses have been set up in previous years, however he is willing to give them another chance this year.

However, the World No.4 did issue something of a warning, saying: "If they can't redeem themselves at Pebble Beach, then there could be a problem."

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