World No. 4 Rory McIlroy insists his debut showing in today’s starting RBC Canadian Open is not just about US Open preparation for Pebble Beach.
McIlroy tees-up in suburban Hamilton striving to build momentum ahead of next week’s third major of the year and this after the disappointment in missing the cut at last week”s Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
It was the Ulsterman’s first missed cut in 12 events this season.
In fact, after also missing the cut in each of the past three US Open showings, McIlroy believes delivering a strong performance through all four rounds in Ontario will be crucial if he’s to capture what would be a second US Open trophy.
“This isn’t just a preparation week,” he said.
“This is a very prestigious tournament, one of the oldest tournaments in the world and I would dearly love to be able to add my name to the trophy.
“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.
“The rough is pretty thick as well, so if you miss it in the rough you’re doing well to get it up by the green. And then, if you do miss greens, it’s going to be pretty similar in terms of the lies that you get.
Indeed, McIlroy added he is ‘fully focussed” and confident his game is back in shape to win one of golf’s oldest national opens.
“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 it will serve me well going into next week,” said McIlroy..
Defending champion Dustin Johnson will be another looking to make an impact as he heads next week to Pebble Beach nine years after blowing the chance of what would have been a then first major triumph.
And ‘DJ’ spoke on the eve of his Canadian defence of his split with long-time coach Claude Harmon III.
“I’ve always worked with coach (Allen) Terrell, I’ve always worked with Butch (Harmon) and Claude, so it’s not really a change,” Johnson said.
Johnson played the last four Canadian Opens contested at Glen Abbey Golf Club but is ready for the challenge of tackling the shorter Hamilton host course.
“It’s kind of an old school golf course. Got to hit it straight, but I like it so far, what I’ve seen,” said Johnson.
“I feel like I’m rested. I’m mentally sharp, and I’m ready to go for the last push through the end of the year.
“I’ve got a lot of really big tournaments coming up, and for me, it’s just about putting myself into position to have a chance to win.
RBC CANADIAN OPEN – IRISH TEE TIMES (Irish time)
Shane Lowry – 12.10pm (1st tee)
Padraig Harrington – 12.10pm (10th tee)
Rory McIlroy – 12.40pm
Seamus Power – 1.10pm
Graeme McDowell – 5.40pm