Rory McIlroy reveals "coolest thing" about the Open Championship

Rory McIlroy has revealed the "coolest thing" about winning an Open Championship.

Lara Kuipers's picture
Tue, 20 Jun 2023
Rory McIlroy reveals "coolest thing" about the Open Championship

After another heartbreak on Sunday at the US Open, Rory McIlroy has one last shot at winning a major in 2023.

The 34-year-old has been searching for his fifth major championship for nine years now, with his last being the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla.

He won three other majors between 2011 and his most recent in August 2014, but he hasn't been able to seal the deal for nearly a decade.

He's had plenty of close calls - finishing inside the top 10 at all four in 2022, and finishing one-stroke back of winner Wyndham Clark during Sunday's conclusion of the 123rd US Open.

Now, McIlroy will be setting his sights on the 151st Open Championship next month at Royal Liverpool.

It's the first time in nine years that the tournament will head to Hoylake for the championship. The last time they were there, the Northern Irishman clinched his lone Open Championship win.

McIlroy won the tournament by two strokes at 17-under par over Rickie Fowler to claim the title of Champion Golfer of the Year.

But, as McIlroy pointed out during a recent podcast interview for The Open, the crucial moment of the tournament for him actually came from two late eagles during Saturday's third round.

"It wasn't quite the championship, but it was, you know, it put one hand on the Claret Jug for me," said McIlroy. "I just needed to go out on Sunday and not do anything stupid and that's basically what I did. I could play quite conservatively and know that if I made a couple of mistakes it was probably going to be OK. So that Saturday afternoon was huge."

McIlroy entered the third round at 12-under par after back-to-back rounds of 66.

Despite a slow start to his round on Saturday - going even par through his front nine - McIlroy dominated the back nine, ultimately going 4-under par with eagles on Nos. 16 and 18.

As a result, his 1-under 71 on Sunday was more than enough to comfortably take the title.

"I think that's the coolest thing, you get announced as the winner of the gold medal and the Champion Golfer of the Year," McIlroy said.

"Anyone that grows up playing this sport and has aspirations of getting to the top level - that is something that you want to hear your name mentioned with and some point. And having my parents there - especially my mom at the back of the 18th - was a really, really nice moment."

During the podcast, McIlroy also spoke about the last time the Open Championship was played in his home country - the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy struggled right out of the gate, ultimately carding an 8-over 79 in the first round.

He rebounded the following day with an impressive 6-under 65, but unfortunately, it was too little, too late. He'd miss the cut that year.

"In terms of the result for the week for me, selfishly, it was very disappointing and not what I wanted," he said. "But I think for Northern Ireland and Portrush, and for The Open in general, it was an amazing week."

"I mean, you couldn't have got a better winner in Shane, either. The whole week everyone I talked to, especially over here in the States, they all say that Portrush has been their favourite Open of the last 10 years. Which means a lot to me, especially being where I'm from and they all had such a good time.

"They loved the golf course and they loved the crowds and the people, so that means a lot to me that a lot of guys thought so highly of it."

Irish star Shane Lowry won the tournament that year, earning his first major championship. He defeated Englishman and good friend Tommy Fleetwood by an incredible six strokes in a now-iconic Open Championship.

This year's Open Championship is set to play out from 20-23 July.

You can watch McIlroy's full Open podcast interview here:

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