Rolex Series

Rory McIlroy ready to bounce back from U.S. Open disappointment

Rory McIlroy is certain he can bounce back quickly from his from his U.S. Open disappointment as he looks to defend his title at this week's Genesis Scottish Open.

The Northern Irishman had a two-shot lead on the back nine at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club but missed short putts on the 16th and 18th to leave the door open for Bryson DeChambeau, who sealed the title with a stunning up-and-down on the 18th.

That extended McIlroy's wait for a fifth Major Championship to nearly a decade and the current leader on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex admits it was a tough pill to swallow at the time, leading to his withdrawal from the Travelers Championship on the PGA TOUR the following week.

But ahead of his return to competitive action in the Rolex Series at The Renaissance Club, McIlroy insisted he will use the adversity to learn and come back stronger, just like he has done all his career.

“I look back on that day just like I look back on some of the toughest moments in my career and I’ll learn a lot from it and hopefully put that to good use,” he said.

“It’s something that’s been a bit of a theme throughout my career, I’ve been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that."

He added: "The way I’d describe Pinehurst on Sunday was it was a great day until it wasn’t.

“I did things on that Sunday that I haven’t been able to do the last couple of years, took control of the golf tournament, holed putts when I needed to - well, mostly - made birdies and really got myself in there.

“It was a tough day, it was a tough few days after that but as you get further away from it happening you start to see the positives and all the good things you did throughout the week.

“There’s learnings in there too. I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16 and the putt on the last was a really tricky putt and I was very aware of where Bryson was off the tee.

“I knew I had to hit it really soft. If the one back didn’t matter, I would have hit it firmer.

“Knowing that Bryson had hit it left off the tee, I just sort of wanted to make sure that if there was still a chance at a play-off, that it was at least going to be that.”

McIlroy was even left to look back almost 16 years when, as a 19-year-old in his first season on Tour, he missed a five-footer on the last to win the European Masters and then missed from 18 inches on the second play-off hole to hand Jean-François Lucquin victory.

"I still think about the short missed putt that I missed at Crans-sur-Sierre in 2008 in a play-off," he said. "You think about all of them.

"And I was probably more devastated after that because it was my rookie year on Tour, I hadn't won yet. I remember feeling really bad after that for like a good week.

"I stewed on what happened at Pinehurst for a couple of days but then, thankfully, I can go home and look at what I've achieved in the game and sort of feel OK about myself.

"It was a great opportunity. It passed me by but hopefully when I get that next opportunity, it won't pass me by."

McIlroy will have another chance to take his Major tally to five at next week's Open Championship and having already enjoyed a career that has brought him four Majors, three Rolex Series titles and five Harry Vardon Trophies, he is grateful for all the game has given him.

"There's not a day goes by that I don't feel like I'm the luckiest person in the world to get up every morning and be healthy and follow my dream," he said.

"There's videos of me at seven years old saying I want to be the best player in the world and I want to win all the Majors. To be able to try to make that little seven-year-old boy proud every day is something that I really don't take for granted. I'm very appreciative of the position that I'm in in life."

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