Native son McIlroy takes aim at Royal Portrush in Open Championship

McIlroy hopes for home course advantage at Royal Portrush

Rory McIlroy

The Open Championship at Royal Portrush – it’s something Rory McIlroy has tried not to think too much about.

Growing up in Holywood, about an hour from the historic course on Northern Ireland’s scenic Antrim Coast, the 30-year-old four-time major champion has fond memories of driving there with his dad, watching him play and of meeting fellow countryman Darren Clarke there when he was 10.

The place holds a special spot in McIlroy’s heart, so much so that he doesn’t want to be overcome by eagerness when he tees it up there in the 148th Open Championship, which airs Thursday through Sunday, July 18-21, on Golf Channel and NBC.

If his performance this year is any indication, he has nothing to worry about. At this writing, he’s second on the PGA Tour money list and has been the picture of consistency, winning two tournaments, placing in the top 10 10 times and missing only one cut in 13 outings.

He was arguably at his best in last month’s RBC Canadian Open, where he turned in a dominating performance that saw him shoot a final round 9-under 61 to win by seven strokes over Shane Lowry and Webb Simpson and finish with a 72-hole score of 22-under 258.

Thursday, he’ll try to keep his emotions in check as he takes aim at the Dunluce Links, a 7,317-yard, par-72 layout that is considered one of the most challenging links courses in the world. A field including Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele and defending champion Francesco Molinari will oppose him.

Rory McIlroy

Name: Rory McIlroy

Birth date: May 4, 1989

Birthplace: Holywood, Northern Ireland

Height/weight: 5 feet 10 inches/160 pounds

Family ties: Parents Gerry and Rosie McIlroy worked extra jobs and shifts to pay for their son’s golf development; married former PGA of America employee Erica Stoll in April 2017

Turned Pro: 2007

PGA Tour wins: 16

Honors and Achievements: U.S. Open champion (2011); The Open Championship winner (2014), PGA Championship winner (2012, 2014); PGA Tour Player of the Year and leading money winner (2012, 2014); FedEx Cup champion (2016)

Did you know?: Is a recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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