The Open: Rory McIlroy says missed Scottish Open cut 'wasn't bad one'
Maybe missing the cut in last week’s Scottish Open wasn’t a bad thing, after all, for Rory McIlroy. Not when he’s bounced back manfully from such disappointments on a remarkable five occasions in his career with title triumphs next time out.
“No, I certainly don't think it's a chance statistic,” replied McIlroy to it being pointed out that he’d achieved that feat with his wins in the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational, the 2019 RBC Canadian Open and, most recently, this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.
Add in the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship and 2012 DP World Tour Championship also having been landed in similar circumstances and McIlroy has good reason to feel quietly confident that he can shrug off his early exit in East Lothian to land a second Claret Jug in this week’s 149th Open.
“Look, I think in golf you always learn more about your game when you've missed a cut or struggled or not played as well,” said the 2014 winner. “I think a lot of people can play well, hit the ball great and give themselves chances to win.
“But I've always learnt more from disappointments and from not doing as well. I've always tried to figure out, okay, why did this week not go so well, and then you give yourself a couple of thoughts and they're fresh in your mind going into the next week.
“That's why I say in golf there's always next week, and that's a great thing, because you can right some wrongs pretty quickly. I've been able to do that in the past.”
The biggest disappointment of his career, namely a last-nine capitulation in the 2011 Masters when he looked to have one arm in a Green Jacket, was the start of that valuable process.
“I had a few things fresh in my mind for a couple of months and I made sure if I ever got myself in a position like that again, I wasn't going to make the same mistakes,” he said of then winning the US Open at Congressional a few weeks later that year.
Last week’s early exit allowed McIlroy, who tied for 25th behind Darren Clarke in the 2011 edition of The Open here, a chance to steal a march on most of his title rivals this week.
“You never want to miss a cut, but, as missed cuts go, this wasn't necessarily a bad one,” he observed. “I wasn't planning on playing the Scottish Open a few weeks ago anyway, so just to get a couple of competitive rounds in and learn a little bit more and figure out what I need to do was good,” he said.
“Look, it would have been great to stay and play an extra couple days in Scotland, but to be down here and get a few holes in on Saturday, play a full round on Sunday, felt like I got a bit of a head start on the rest of the field, which feels good.
“It means now that I didn't even play any holes yesterday. I played 11 today. I'm probably going to go out early tomorrow and play 18. But I just meant that I can take it a bit easier the next couple days, not feel like I'm trying to cram all the preparation in.”