Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy admits he needs to utilise
the crowd support at The Irish Open, after allowing it to overwhelm him in the past.
first experience of the Irish Open came as a 16 year old amateur in 2005, when he shot rounds of 71 and 81 to miss the cut.
But while the biggest crowds that week were with Colin Montgomerie in the group behind, McIlroy will be the star attraction at Carton House as he looks to rediscover the form which made him World Number One and brought him two Major titles.
Asked how he would manage expectations and avoid feeling suffocated, McIlroy said: "That's actually a good word. That's something I've felt in a couple of Irish Opens is suffocated and having that burden and that pressure and that expectation.
"It's much better having fans for you and really wanting you to do well than people rooting against you, so it's a great privilege to have. The best thing that I can do this week is go out and enjoy myself, smile, and try and play the best that I can and show everyone how much I appreciate their support.
"That's what I've tried
to do the last couple of years, just try to embrace the whole week and enjoy it. You don't get a chance to come back here very often and play, so it's nice to be able to do it and enjoy it while you do it.
"I guess it's just a little different here, because I guess you don't feel so much that people necessarily want you to win at any other tournament.
"Of course you have your fans and people that come to watch you and support you, but here everyone lives every shot with you and you make a birdie and there's a huge roar and if you miss a putt, you can hear the disappointment in the crowd."