Missing cut last week could be blessing in disguise for Rory McIlroy heading into British Open

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Missing the cut the week before a major isn’t exactly the preferred preparation.

Then again, it isn’t fatal.

Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy has made the best of things after not playing the weekend in last week’s Scottish Open.

The 2014 winner of the British Open got to Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, two days ahead of time and played 29 holes over Saturday and Sunday on the course hosting the 149th playing of the British Open.

He also found something in his swing on Sunday that has lifted his spirits.

And McIlroy can call on his splendid history of rebounding after missed cuts. The last nine times he failed to play more than 36 holes he’s finished in the top-20 eight times in his next start. Three times he’s won, including this year when he missed the Masters cut and won Quail Hollow the next time he teed it up.

“The great thing about golf is there’s always next week. You can always get back on the horse,” McIlroy said Tuesday at Royal St. George’s. “You never want to miss a cut, but as missed cuts go, this wasn’t necessarily a bad one.

“It would have been great to stay and play an extra couple days in Scotland, but to be down here and get a few holes in on Saturday, play a full round on Sunday, felt like I got a bit of a head start on the rest of the field, which feels good.

“I can take it a bit easier the next couple days, not feel like I’m trying to cram all the preparation in.”

While McIlroy has won 28 worldwide titles, the world No. 11 said he’s learned more about himself and his game after failing inside the gallery ropes.

“In golf you always learn more about your game when you’ve missed a cut or struggled or not played as well. I’ve always learned more from disappointments and from not doing as well,” he said. “I’ve always tried to figure out, OK, why did this week not go so well, and then you give yourself a couple of thoughts and they’re fresh in your mind going into the next week.

“That’s why I say in golf there’s always next week, and that’s a great thing, because you can right some wrongs pretty quickly.”

McIlroy missed the cut in the 2019 Open at Royal Portrush, the most recent contest of the oldest championship in golf. Before that, however, he won the Open in 2014, missed the championship in 2015 with a ruptured ankle ligament, tied for fifth in 2016, tied for fourth in 2017 and tied for second in 2018.

He likes his chances this week despite playing just 36 last week.

“I feel good. I’ve hit the ball really good in practice the last few days,” he said. “I feel like I figured something out on Sunday here, which has been really good. I hit the ball great on the range, and I hit the ball well today on the course.

“It’s hard. You’re thinking swing so much, and it’s really about trying to get that blend of getting your mechanics right but then also letting your athletic ability and your instincts shine through, as well. It’s just been trying to get that balance.

“I feel like I figured something out on Sunday, and I feel good with it. I feel good about where I am going into the week.”