Watch: Rory hopes preparation is perfect as Bjorn tips McIlroy for US Open challenge
Rory McIlroy hopes he has got his schedule just about perfect to ensure he can play to the best of his ability this weekend.
As European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn backed the world number two to play his way into contention at this week's US Open, McIlroy knows everything has to be right to live up to that billing on his return from a rib injury that has restricted him to just six starts so far this year.
"It's been a frustrating year," he told the USGA. "It's such a niggly injury that it comes and goes but I feel like I've figured out what I need to do to not have it reoccur. It's about managing my practice schedule, not over-doing it and making sure that I have plenty of energy to come out on the course and just play."
Rory McIlroy says Erin Hills has "definitely lived up to expectations."Posted by U.S. Open Championship on Sunday, June 11, 2017
Bjorn was optimistic that McIlroy could get all that right and 'adapt to the situation' to give us a thrilling Sunday evening finish to the second major of the season.
"He can do many things," said the Dane.
"He would love to have played more. He sets his mind on a schedule and that's what he's going to try to stick to and then when he can't do it he suffers a little bit in not getting the right preparation, but then you have to prepare another way.
"Great players adapt to the situation they are in and he is capable of adapting to it.
"It's never nice to play the biggest events if you haven't been playing competitive golf, but that isn't to say he can't go and do it."
McIlroy is deep into his practice at the US Open course Erin Hills, which contains 14 dauntingly blind tee shots and only five trees across the whole course. Knowing where to hit your drives, McIlroy admits, will be key.
"Sightlines off tees are very important but if you can get comfortable with those, they say a course is only blind once. Once you've played it, you should know where to go," he said.
"I've heard a lot about Erin Hills over the past four or five years since we knew we were coming here. It's definitely lived up to expectations. It's great. For a US Open venue it's a little more generous than we've seen in the past which is great. It will allow guys to be aggressive. You hit a lot of drivers round here and you can be aggressive with your iron shots. It gets a little tricky on the greens sometimes but overall I think it's going to be a great test.
"You need to be in control of your iron play. The fairways aren't running too much so you can't really run shots into greens but you need to be able to flight it through a breeze. That will be a factor and whoever can control their ball-flight the best will have a good chance.
Belfast Telegraph Digital