2023 British Open: Rory McIlroy skips formal pre-championship presser for second straight major
HOYLAKE, England – For the second consecutive major, Rory McIlroy will skip his pre-tournament press conference.
McIlroy was scheduled to speak with the assembled media at 9 a.m. local time Tuesday, but R&A officials announced Monday that he will no longer participate.
Though McIlroy won’t speak to reporters in a formal setting in the run-up to the 151st Open, he did a walk-and-talk interview with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis during a nine-hole practice round Monday at Royal Liverpool.
“I feel really good about everything,” McIlroy said. “I’m in a good spot.”
When asked what attitude he’s bringing into the year’s final major, McIlroy said: “Carefree. Go out and play my golf and enjoy it. That’s always been the way I’ve played my best golf is playing with a bit of a carefree attitude and enjoying the game for what it is. If those are my two goals for the week and I’m able to do that, I’m pretty sure the byproduct of that is that I’ll be able to play some good golf.”
Now ranked second in the world after his rousing victory Sunday at the Scottish Open, McIlroy won The Open when it was last held here at Royal Liverpool in 2014. A month later, he captured the PGA Championship for his fourth major championship by the age of 25. He’s been stuck on that number ever since.
McIlroy was asked recently about tempering expectations at The Open knowing that he was both in form (six consecutive top-10s, including last week’s win) and returning to a place where he has such good history.
He admittedly learned a harsh lesson earlier this year. McIlroy said he was “never so sure” that he was going to play well at Augusta National as he was this year, and he wound up missing the cut for the first time in his Masters career. He skipped the following week’s designated event on the PGA Tour, citing a need for a mental reset.
“I felt like my game was in really good shape, and I didn’t produce what I need to produce the first two days, and that was disappointing,” McIlroy said. “I think I learned a lot from that and just about playing a golf tournament. Seventy-two holes is a long time. A lot can happen. It’s a journey. It’s a journey to get yourself into contention, and to be there on Sunday afternoon, and there’s a lot of golf shots to be hit and a lot of golf to be played.
“The worst thing you can do in this game is get ahead of yourself.”
So McIlroy has eliminated one possible distraction – a 30-minute sit-down with the scribes – in hopes of leaning into his preparation.