Rory McIlroy: I’m going to play aggressively to keep US Open title
RORY McIlroy has decided that the best way to try to keep his US Open title - something only Curtis Strange has done in the past 61 years - is to attack.
Despite the Olympic Club in San Francisco being a far harder test than Congressional was a year ago, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman plans to take it on.
"I didn't expect to be saying that before I got here - I thought there would be a lot more irons off tees," said McIlroy after practising with Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell. "I reckon I'm going to use my driver eight or nine times. I'm coming in with the mindset that I'm going to attack the golf course and play aggressively when I can."
He added: "Obviously you have to be smart, but you've got to take your chances around here. It gives you a few opportunities where you can make birdies.
"The rough is not as bad as maybe in previous years. You can get away with some tee shots. Really you just need to know your way around and know where you can miss it.
"People say it's fiddly, but I'm going to try to take the course on. If you make some bogeys you can hide them with a few red numbers (birdies)."
If not quite back to feeling supremely confident then McIlroy is certainly sounding more upbeat than he was after missing three successive cuts.
He added last week's event in Memphis to his schedule and was tied for the lead until going in the water and double-bogeying the final hole.
"It was a really good idea that I went there. I definitely feel more comfortable about my game than if I hadn't played," he said. "I'm feeling ready to go. The missed cuts were maybe what I needed - you've still got to work hard, put the time and effort in."
He plays the opening two rounds on Thursday and Friday with Westwood and Luke Donald - his fellow members of the world top three in other words.