The Northern Irishman has achieved many things in the game, winning four Major Championships, topping the Rankings on both sides of the Atlantic, claiming World Golf Championships titles and starring on winning Ryder Cup teams.
But he has so far only had one chance to win the Claret Jug at the Home of Golf, starting with a blistering 63 in 2010 before eventually finishing in a share of third place.
Four years later he had his time in the sun at The Open Championship as he was crowned the 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year.
Three-time Open champion Bobby Jones famously said that a player’s career would not be complete without lifting the Claret Jug on the Old Course and while McIlroy would maybe not go that far, he is under no illusions over the significance of a win this week.
"I don't know if a golfer's career is not complete if you don't win here, but I think it's the Holy Grail of our sport," he said.
"So not a lot of people are going to get that opportunity to achieve that but that's what winning an Open at St Andrews is. It's one of the highest achievements that you can have in golf.
"There are a lot of great players that have won Opens and maybe not won Opens at St Andrews, so I think it's unfair to say that a golfer's career isn't complete without that. But it's certainly up there with one of the greatest things you can do in our game."
McIlroy arrives in Scotland at number two in the Official World Golf Ranking, having won the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR and finished in the top ten at all three Majors so far in 2022.
"I'm playing well," he said. "I'm in good form. My confidence in my game is as high as it's been in quite a while.
"I can't go in here thinking that this might be my time. I just have to go out and play a really good tournament. I've got to string four good rounds together and hopefully at the end of the week that's good enough to win.
"I'm happy where everything's at and I just can't get ahead of myself. I just have to make sure that I prepare well the next couple of days and get myself in the right frame of mind for Thursday."
At just 33, McIlroy has already achieved a Hall of Fame career but he insists there is plenty more to come as he searches for a first Major title in eight years.
"I'm certainly not at the reminiscing point of my career yet," he said. "I'm very proud of my achievements and I'm proud of what I've achieved in the game but I know that there's still a lot more that I want to achieve and a lot more that I can achieve.
"I look back fondly on what I've done so far but I still feel like I've got another decade or more of really good golf left in me. I'm firmly looking ahead and trying to make the most of however long left I've got in this game."