Rory McIlroy faces new degree of stress at British Open


What’s previous could be very new this week because it pertains to the 148th British Open.

For the primary time in 68 years, the Open Championship will likely be performed outdoors of Nice Britain — at Royal Portrush in Northern Eire.

The Open, too, is now the ultimate of the 4 main championships to be performed this season — with PGA Championship, historically performed in August, having been moved to Might.

These are simply two of a protracted listing of compelling storylines to this Open.

Tiger Woods, who received his 15th profession main championship when he received the Masters in April, enters this week at Portrush with out having performed a single event because the U.S. Open in June at Pebble Seaside.

The final time Woods went with that technique, skipping from one main to the subsequent, he missed the minimize on the PGA Championship at Bethpage after not enjoying following the Masters.

One other prime storyline includes Brooks Koepka, who was unable to win the U.S. Open final month however has received 4 of the previous 9 majors by which he’s performed. However he completed second to Gary Woodland. Earlier than profitable the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in Might, he was unable to win the Masters. However he completed second to Woods.

Does that categorize a hunch for Koepka? How will he bounce again on the British Open — which he’s by no means received, with a finest end his tie for sixth in 2017?

What’s going to Woodland, winner of his first profession main championship at Pebble Seaside, have for an encore at Portrush? Woodland has performed simply as soon as since his U.S. Open win and missed the minimize on the Rocket Mortgage Traditional in Detroit.

And what to consider Rory McIlroy — who’s looking for his first main championship since 2014, when he received two (the British Open and PGA Championship)?

McIlroy, who owns 4 main championship titles, is a confounding case, as a result of he isn’t enjoying poorly. Within the 18 majors McIlroy has performed — and never received — since his 2014 PGA triumph, he has 11 top-10 finishes, together with 5 within the top-five. He, too, has 5 non-major wins in that span, together with this 12 months’s Gamers Championship and final 12 months’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.

However stress is mounting for McIlroy, with all of his expertise, to win one other main quickly. Including to that stress is the very fact this week is actually a house recreation for him. McIlroy grew up a few 45-minute drive away from Portrush, in Holywood. So outdoors expectations will likely be at an all-time excessive for him.

Talking of native connections, Graeme McDowell is likely one of the finest tales at this Open, having grown up enjoying the Portrush course as a toddler. McDowell, whose enjoying standing had dipped since profitable the 2010 U.S. Open, has fought his manner again into relevance. That was climaxed by his tie for eighth on the RBC Canadian Open, which certified him for this Open.

Considered one of his life-long targets to play an Open Championship on his house course will likely be fulfilled this week.

“To play an Open Championship right here at Portrush in entrance of my house followers and household is definitely one thing I dreamed about as a younger boy,” McDowell stated. “It’s going to really feel epic on that first tee. The followers are going to supply enormous assist and they’re excited to have one of the best gamers on this planet come to Portrush. It’s going to be very particular.

“Rising up there and all the time dreaming of seeing the Claret Jug within the trophy cupboards there and the images from 1951, it’s all the time been a dream of mine for a really very long time to have the Open Championship return to Portrush, but in addition to be within the subject and be aggressive and have the prospect to go and compete and attempt to win the Claret Jug in my hometown.’’