Rory McIlroy is relishing the prospect of competing for an Open Championship title in the "spectacular" surroundings of Royal Portrush.
"Hopefully not. Hopefully it's a huge success and it becomes part of The Open rota".
"I expected it to feel different than it did".
"Yes, the stands are up and it looks fantastic, but it's still the same golf course".More news: This "Champ Stamp" is the Greatest Bad Tattoo You’ll Ever See
"One of the big things for me next week is enjoy the experience", he said as the chat in his press conference at The Renaissance Club inevitably switched to the season's final major.
"That was probably the first time that I realised that we had something pretty special on our hands from the point of view of Irish golf and Northern Irish golf". I played the new holes in 2017 and played 18 holes in October. When I got on the first tee, everything sort of started coming back to me. That, coupled with the fact he's not finished outside the top five in his last four appearances in the event, is making him feel quietly confident about ending a five-year drought in the majors just over an hour's drive from his family home in Holywood.
"And I'd say, "well, I'd go out and not have a care in the world". It was great to see it.
"I want to enjoy the experience and take it in as well, not have my blinkers on the whole time, look to the right of me, look to the left of me, see all these fans, see all these people who have come out to support me and if I'm able to play some good golf that I have been doing all year and give myself a chance".More news: CDC: Pet supply retailer recalling pig ears due to salmonella outbreak
"It's amusing. I keep thinking back and in that stretch of golf there's two tough holes, the 14th (Calamity Corner), which is now the 16th, and then the old 16th, which is now the 18th". "It's a different kind of challenge from the standard links golf course", said the American of Tom Doak's modern links design.
McIlroy was buoyed by his visit to Portrush at the weekend as he realised that, despite the changes made to the course in recent years, he still feels very much at home.
"As much as these weeks set you up for the week after, I'm playing with this event with two eyes firmly focused on the Scottish Open", added the 30-year-old, who has never won a tournament in Scotland. "It seems like into the greens, you can't play many shots on the ground".
"You want to go out and play like that because I shouldn't have a care in the world".More news: Candidate: Woman reporter must be joined by male colleague
"My second week of competitive golf is usually my best week", said the Northern Irishman. I honestly think this peaking for majors is a little bit of a myth. "It seems like if it gets blowing out here, it's going to be very, very hard: the nine holes I played yesterday, they weren't very short". So it deserves to stand-alone and not just be this tournament that's attached on to the week after. I'd rather lose playing that way than lose playing conservatively and not really giving myself a chance.