'I'm happy where my game is at' - Rory McIlroy confident about future after strong finish at Royal Troon
Rory McIlroy was satisfied with his Open finish having long since written off his chances of victory.
The world number four failed to mount a strong challenge at Royal Troon but was heartened by his final-round 67, which took him to four under for the championship.
The Northern Irishman said: "After the second day I was never going to win this golf tournament. Look what the guys have done - there was no chance of me getting to that score.
"So to finish as high up as I could, that was the goal. I was going out there today with the goal of trying to get world ranking points, Race to Dubai points, FedExCup points.
"I sort of forgot about the Claret Jug and just tried to focus on finishing as high as I could, and felt like I did that pretty well.
"I can be positive about my game going into the last major of the year."
That next major opportunity comes at the USPGA Championship at Baltusrol in less than a fortnight's time.
McIlroy said: "Obviously I've missed a few short putts this week but I'm not really putting that down to anything. I think I just need to do a little bit of work and maybe just be a bit more confident over them.
"But tee to green was good and I can only be positive going into Baltusrol. I'm playing well, I'm driving the ball great, I'm happy with where my game's at.
"All I can do is keep plugging away. I feel like it's definitely heading in the right direction.
"If I can drive the ball like I did this week and sharpen up a few bits and pieces, I think I'll be right there."