Rory McIlroy believes he has peaked at just the right time for the year’s third Major as he prepares for The Open Championship.
The Northern Irishman, who became World Number One with his Honda Classic victory earlier in the year before being usurped by Luke Donald, had his best European Tour finish since March when he was tenth at The Irish Open at the start of the month.
And now the former US Open Champion has his sights firmly set on The Claret Jug at Royal Lytham.
“Preparation has gone well,” he said. “I played the course Thursday and Friday last week, got two really good looks at it. Went back out Monday and played 18 holes, so I’ve got a few good looks at the place and feel like I know what I'm doing out there now.
“I'm excited to get started. It will just be nice to get going on Thursday, because I feel like I've been waiting for it for almost a week now.
“I feel like I'm hitting the ball great. I think it's the best I've swung the club all year and I've done a lot of work on that. It's a case of keeping the ball in play, keeping it out of the bunkers and out of the rough. Not only if I can do that, but if anyone can do that in this field, they've got a great chance.”
With 206 bunkers littering the Fylde Coast course, precision from the tee is likely to be a key factor, and World Number Two McIlroy acknowledges he may have to rein in his aggressive instincts at times.
“The thing I like about this course is that it gives you a lot of definition,” he added. “You have targets to hit at and you've got targets to work it off, and it's one of the great things about this course.
“I think it's just knowing the times when to be aggressive and when not to be. With the way the conditions are at the minute with the greens being slightly softer, there are more chances out there to be aggressive.
“You're going to have to be very smart off the tees here and plot your way around, just to navigate your way through all these fairway bunkers. If you can do that and put your ball in the fairway, you do have chances to be aggressive going into some of the greens.”