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Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is looking forward to taking on the world's best again at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational after his emotional missed cut at last week's Open Championship.

After an opening 79 at Royal Portrush Golf Club, the home favourite fought back with the support of a vociferous home crowd only to miss out on the weekend by a single shot.

The Northern Irishman did not touch a club between his overwhelming Friday afternoon on the Antrim coast and Wednesday practice at TPC Southwind - partly due to moving house - but is eager to pick up a third WGC title when the real action gets under way.

"I sort of like these events that have no cut," said McIlroy, who has finished first or second after three of his last four missed cuts. "You sort of go out there and freewheel from the start. Not that you should have really any sort of a different attitude in regular events but I've always enjoyed the golf courses that the WGCs have been at.

"Obviously this tournament was in Akron, not here, but I think it's gone from a very strong golf course to another strong golf course. I enjoy Mexico now, that's another good stop on Tour.

"I like the World Golf Championships. It's some of the strongest fields of the year and you're playing with the strongest players from the get-go. Like playing with Brooks (Koepka) and Jason Day tomorrow and Friday, to be in those sort of marquee groups from the outset is a cool thing as well."

The support McIlroy received as he was fighting to make the weekend on the back nine at Portrush was remarkable and he admitted he found it hard to keep his emotions in check.

"I guess at the end of the day, I didn't think I meant as much to them and I realised that they mean more to me than I thought they did," he said. "So I think it went both ways and it was really nice.

I like the World Golf Championships. It's some of the strongest fields of the year and you're playing with the strongest players from the get-go - Rory McIlroy

"I had to probably stop myself from crying about four times on the back nine, not because of the situation I found myself in, but just because of the support.

"I think I've learned a lot in the four Majors this year in terms of how I've started, how I've played in them, how I've tried to approach them.

"I almost tried to downplay the Majors this year, tried to treat them like every other event and I've realised they're not, they're not like any other event. You need to have a certain mindset, you need to prepare differently.

"I tried a sort of different strategy this year, it didn't quite work for me. I just have to reassess that going forward."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-16
2SIMPSON, WebbUSA18-13
3LEISHMAN, MarcAUS18-12
T4FLEETWOOD, TommyENG18-11
T4FITZPATRICK, MatthewENG18-11
T4MCILROY, RoryNIR18-11

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