You live and learn: Rory McIlroy reflects on 'funny' hairstyle at 2007 Open Championship
But the world number eight would like some of his teenage self's attitude back
Rory McIlroy wants to rediscover some youthful fearlessness during his drive for glory at Carnoustie this week - but not too much.
The last time The Open was played at the Scottish east-coast course, Rory won the silver medal for the highest placed amateur on Sunday afternoon.
Eleven years on and he has already spoken of a desire to play 'care-free' golf in a bid to get his game back to the major-winning standard of his fledgling career.
But he won't be bringing out his old hairstyle again, even if he could grow it back.
"I probably could," he laughed at Wednesday's press conference. "I don't want to, though. A few more grays in it these days. But, yeah, looking back at the pictures, it is, it's funny. It's cool. It's great to look back on. It's good memories. When I looked in the mirror back then, I didn't think it was as big as it was. Anyways, we live and we learn."
Rory played a practice round with 2017 Irish Open winner Jon Rahm at the start of the week and is hoping the Spaniard's instinct to go big off the tee might help a more maturely aware McIlroy.
"There is something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff," he said, turning his mind back to his 2007 amateur days. "And I think that I remember back to when we last played The Open here. I was just happy to be here. I was bouncing down the fairways, didn't care if I shot 82 or 62. I was just happy to be here.
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"The more I can get into that mindset, the better I'll play golf. I look back at those pictures (of 2007) and the more I can be like that kid, the better."
McIlroy won four majors in four years from 2011 to 2014 before a four year period without a single major title.
"It's hard to win any week on Tour, let alone the four big ones that we get a year," the world number eight explained, thinking over his bid to go into the 2019 Open at Portrush as defending champion.
"Look, I was on a nice run there from 2011 to 2014. I haven't won one since, but I'm trying. I'm trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn't happened. You know, I'll give it a good go this week.
"And if I were to head to Portrush with a Claret Jug in my possession, I'd obviously be very happy and be very proud to be the defending champion at a golf course that I know very well and playing in front of home fans.
"Geez, if it all worked out like that this week, I'd be one very happy man heading out of here."
Belfast Telegraph Digital