HOYLAKE, England – As Rory McIlroy’s swing coach Michael Bannon surveyed the scene on Hoylake’s 18th green late Sunday it wasn’t his prize pupil’s two-stroke victory or his near-flawless ball-striking that impressed him the most.
“What was more impressive was the way he prepared for this Open,” Bannon said. “He played the ball low, he played a lot of shots around the greens, he putted a lot and worked on flighting his wedges. It was good preparation for the links golf.”
McIlroy began his Open Championship preparation with two nine-hole practice rounds at Royal County Down near his childhood home in Northern Ireland, followed by two full rounds at Royal Liverpool on July 5 and 6.
From there he went to the Scottish Open, which was played at Royal Aberdeen, another classic links course, before traveling to Hoylake, where he was able to limit his practice and rest.
“I felt like my preparation was really good. And I hit some different shots that I might need for links golf,” McIlroy said. “It obviously worked out pretty well. So I'll be doing it in the future.”