Rory McIlroy hopes to end his extended wait for a major title at the U.S. Open, but the former world number one is not placing too much pressure on himself as he puts things into perspective after becoming a father.
McIlroy is off diaper duty for this week’s rescheduled U.S. Open, which gets underway at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York amid the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.
The 31-year-old Northern Irish star has not added to his four major trophies since 2014, when he claimed both the US PGA Championship and Open Championship.
McIlroy finished tied for 33rd at this year’s PGA Championship, while he was unable to defend his Tour Championship and FedEx Cup titles last week as Dustin Johnson reigned supreme.
“Yeah, for sure. I think if anything, if you’ve looked at my major championship performances over the last few years, I’ve just gotten off to slow starts,” McIlroy told reporters when asked if he had analysed his major struggles.
“I probably just put a little too much pressure on myself going into tournaments. And from there, shooting a bad score on the first day and putting yourself under even more pressure from there to just make it to the weekend, and then to try to play catch-up. I think that’s been the big thing.
“When I start tournaments well, I seem to stay up there. I started Pebble last year with a nice score and stayed up there for the most part. I didn’t quite finish the week the way I wanted to. But that’s been the big thing for me. If I can start and put a good solid round together on a Thursday, I’m usually right there.”
While McIlroy is eyeing major glory, defeat would sit slightly easier with the 2011 U.S. Open champion following the birth of his first child.
Asked if fatherhood had relaxed him, McIlroy said: “I think so. I think it just puts things in perspective a little bit. Not that this it matters to me and I care about it very much, but at the same time, it makes the hard days a little easier to get over, right. And I’m not saying that I want to have hard days to get over, but yeah, you’re a little more relaxed.
“When I say it’s not the be-all and end-all, it’s a major championship and I’ve grown up my whole life dreaming of winning these tournaments, and that’s not going to change, but if it doesn’t quite happen, I can live with that and go home and be very happy and leave what’s happened at the golf course at the golf course.
“I think that’s maybe something that I haven’t done so well in the past is I haven’t left my job at the office basically, I’ve brought it home with me, and I’ve let it affect my mood and how I am. I think having that little bit more perspective definitely helps.”
McIlroy added: “I actually changed the first two diapers, so I’m very proud of that. But yeah, I’ve got my hands dirty; put it that way.”