Harrington has no fears for McIlroy ahead of Open
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
INVERNESS, Scotland — Padraig Harrington believes Rory McIlroy will be well prepared for next week's British Open even though he hasn't played since winning the U.S. Open.
The break will be more than three weeks by the time the 22-year-old Northern Irishman tees it up at the British Open at Royal St. George's.
"He's very familiar with links golf and he will play quite a bit of links golf in those three weeks at home," three-time major winner Harrington said Tuesday. "In terms of getting used to it, that shouldn't be an issue. He doesn't seem to have any issue in terms of competitiveness not playing.
Rory McIlroy at the 2011 U.S. Open
Check out photos of Rory McIlroy at the 111th U.S. Open Championship
"He knows what he's doing. If you can win by eight shots by not playing the week before, I'd stick to that routine."
Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie felt it would have been in McIlroy's interests to have played at least one event between the majors.
Sixteen days have passed since McIlroy's stunning U.S. Open victory, when he broke several records, and he continues to be the talk of the tour.
His preparations for the third major of the year have come under scrutiny, with Montgomerie saying on Monday that McIlroy could find himself "mentally tired" dealing with the expected barrage of back-patting in the days leading up to the British Open.
"There are going to be so many people wanting to congratulate him. Whether it was (last week's) French Open or the Scottish Open (starting Thursday), he could have got that out of his system and out of the way so he can start the Open afresh," said Montgomerie, still looking for his first major title. "Now he's got that ahead of him."
Harrington acknowledged that McIlroy's buildup to the tournament in Sandwich, southeast England, which begins July 14, will be hectic but said having a major title to his name will help him get through it.
"There's always that external stuff building up and it does make it harder," said the Irishman, who has fallen to No. 57 since winning the last of his three majors — the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 2008.
"But the advantage is, if you get through that and you get to the last nine holes and you are in contention, the fact you have done it before and you've already got one certainly eases the pressure on you."
McIlroy plans to visit Royal St. George's this week.