Home favourite Rory McIlroy hoping to savour Royal Portrush experience

In line Randal Evans lost his course record to a young Rory McIlroy

In line Randal Evans lost his course record to a young Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy hopes he does not "go through the motions" at the Scottish Open as he warms up for a home Open Championship at Portrush next week.

The four-time major victor, who shot a course-record 61 there at the age of 16, will be the home favourite at the links in Northern Ireland, which he says has improved significantly since his younger days.

"It's spectacular, it's unbelievable. I made arrangements to go to dinner with them and I said, can we have it about 8.00 because I don't know how much time I'm going to have to spend at Portrush and sort of just get my bearings, and I ended up moving the dinner forward because I didn't needed to spend as much as time as I thought I did, which I guess is a comforting thing in a way".

"It's bigger, it's tougher and obviously all the infrastructure out there".

"I want to enjoy it, I want to enjoy the experience".

McIlroy has won two PGA Tour events this season alone and 21 times worldwide outside of the majors, but has not won one since 2014 and saw his only realistic chance to end his drought this season fizzle out in the final round of the US Open.

"The success of Darren, Graeme, myself and Padraig as well was part of the reason why the R&A wanted to come here, and also the work done by the [club general manager] Wilma Erskine and the people of Portrush".

The round in question was at Royal Portrush and can never be surpassed given the changes to the course made since, but it would have been a courageous soul to bet on anyone wiping McIlroy's name from the record books in any event. This is a very important event to me.

But he has no plans to heap further pressure on himself by putting all his focus on the majors in the style of Brooks Koepka, the world No 1 who seems to save all his effort for the four big events.

"He obviously does put a lot of extra emphasis on the majors and it works for him, but when I try to put extra emphasis on tournaments, it nearly goes the other way for me".

The world number three says it'll be a special occasion.

"It might be (another) 61 years until Portrush gets the Open again, so go out and enjoy this".

"It's not as if I'm trying to replicate shots or different things here that I might be doing in Portrush".

Playing well at the Renaissance Club this week, "not disrespecting this tournament" and adding to his haul of national Open titles - he reached six with the Canadian Open victory last month - means a lot to him as well.

"My second week of competitive golf is usually my best week", said the Northern Irishman. "So if I can have that familiar feeling and that leads to certainty in my game and certainty in what I'm trying to do next week, that's a good thing". I'd rather lose playing that way than lose playing conservatively and not really giving myself a chance.