Rory McIlroy admits he sounds like a broken record as he insists he is close to finding the form to "salvage" his injury-hit season. McIlroy has played just nine events this year and was initially sidelined for six weeks with a rib injury after losing a play-off in the South African Open in January.
The 28-year-old finished seventh, fourth and seventh in his first three strokeplay events on his return, but a recurrence of the problem saw him withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship and Memorial Tournament before missing the cut in the US Open.
A share of 17th in the Travelers Championship was then followed by another missed cut in defence of his Irish Open title at Portstewart, but the four-time Major champion believes he is not far away from a winning display.
"It's hard to sit up here and stand in front of a camera every single time and say to you guys it's close because I sound a bit like a broken record after a few weeks," McIlroy said yesterday ahead of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links which starts today. "But really, it's not far away.
"I'm positive about it. I'm excited about my game. I feel like I'm doing a lot of good things and it's just about putting it all together. Not just for one day but for four days, and not just for four days, to do it week-in and week-out.
"It's fair to say I'm trying to stay patient but it's proving difficult. It always has been for me. I feel like I am good enough to win these tournaments and I've shown that before.
"I have to realise it has been a bit of a stop-start year. I maybe haven't given myself the time to do as much as I've wanted with the injury and everything.
"I feel like I'm playing catch-up a little bit this year. I've got a lot of tournaments coming up through the summer and into sort of September, October time as well.
"Last year I missed the cut at the US Open and I missed the cut at the PGA, but I won two FedEx Cup tournaments at the end of the year and I won the FedEx Cup. Still plenty of time to salvage the season, I guess.
"But I'd rather see that happen sooner rather than later."
McIlroy will be hoping history repeats itself as he makes his first appearance in the Scottish Open since 2014, when he travelled to Royal Aberdeen on the back of a missed cut in the Irish Open and went on to finish 14th.
The following week he led from start to finish to win the Open at Hoylake and followed up with victories in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and US PGA in consecutive starts.
"It was obviously disappointing not to be there (Portstewart) for the weekend," McIlroy added. "But I felt like I learnt a lot over those two days that I played.
"I was getting a little steep with my wedges, so on Saturday I tried to shallow out my wedge action a little bit. Instead of hitting full shots, trying to sort of hit more knock-down shots.
"Then I guess I had a bit of time to reflect on things and reflect on what I feel like I need to do to come into this week and next week with a chance to win and contend and to play well.
"I got the ferry over on Monday, got to the course here late Monday afternoon and did some putting on my own, just to try and figure out a couple of things on my own and try to take ownership of what I'm really working on.
"I feel like I've become quite bogged down in technical thoughts so I need to focus more on my routine and how I approach a putt."