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'My hand was trembling' - McIl...

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'My hand was trembling' - McIlroy says Open nerves got the better of him

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

08:40 25 Jul 2019


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A week on from his disastrous first round at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush, Rory McIlroy has opened up on why he feels it went so wrong and what led him to miss the cut in a competition he was favourite to win.

A quadruple-bogey on the first hole derailed the Northern Irish man and it was clear from the off that something wasn't right.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's FedExCup in Memphis, 30-year-old McIlroy says he's never felt nerves like that.

"I was so relaxed in the warm-up, I was so relaxed on the putting green 10 minutes before, once I was announced and I put my tee in the ground I noticed my hand trembling."

"I was surprised at how nervous I was,  it came on so rapidly...It wasn't like a build-up during the warm-up, I was totally fine and then once my name was announced it was like this is a little different."

The Open at Portrush was special for McIlroy - playing at home, in front of his fans at the course he has known since he was a child. The venue he campaigned for.

He was emotional on the Friday evening as he spoke about missing the cut and as the realisation he wasn't going to being there for the full weekend dawned upon him.

McIlroy, who is often accused of being unemotional and at times cold, particularly when compared to characters such as Shane Lowry, was reflective yesterday evening and seems to have learned from the weekend.

"I didn't cry because I missed the cut, I was overwhelmed by the support that I got. I didn't think I meant as much to them and I realised that they mean more to me than I thought they did."

"I think it went both ways and it was really nice, I probably had to stop myself crying about four times on the back nine. Not because of the situation I found myself in but because of the support, it sounded like Sunday in terms of trying to win the tournament and I just sort of had to take a step back and be like wow I sort of mean a lot to these people and it felt really good."

"Selfishly I said afterward; I would have loved to have played in that atmosphere for two more days."

"It's such a weird thing to say but to think about a missed cut being one of the best experiences you've had on a golf course so I guess there is some sort of silver lining in there somewhere."

"Sometimes I try to take the emotion out of playing golf, I try to think logically and try to be very stoic about the whole thing but I was emotional on Friday and I was able to play good golf in spite of that so I thought that was a good lesson as well, sometimes a bit of emotion on the course isn't a bad thing, it's about how you can handle it."

"I think I've learned a lot from the four majors this year. I almost tried to downplay the majors this year, try to treat like them every other event and I've realised they're not like every other event you need to have a certain mindset, you need to prepare differently. I tried a different strategy this year, it didn't quite work for me and I just have to reassess that this year."

McIlroy tees off just before 7pm Irish time this evening in the first round of the FedExCup in Memphis in the company of Brooks Koepka and Jason Day.

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