The Open 2018: Rory McIlroy aims to rediscover major-winning feeling at Carnoustie

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McIlroy hoping to rediscover 'young abandon' at Carnoustie
The 147th Open Championship
Venue: Carnoustie, Scotland Dates: 19-22 July
Coverage: Live across BBC Radio, highlights on BBC TV and online, live text commentaries on BBC website.

Rory McIlroy says he wants to rediscover the major-winning feeling at The Open at Carnoustie this week.

It has been four years since McIlroy, 29, lasted tasted major success, picking up the Claret Jug at Hoylake.

The Northern Irishman is confident his game is in good shape to challenge.

"I don't want to put myself under pressure by saying I am desperate to win but at the same time I know how it feels and I want to have that feeling again," said the world number eight.

"It would be massive. It feels like a while since I won at Liverpool and it's been a while since I won a major championship.

"I have won tournaments in between but not the biggest ones in the world and those are the ones that I want.

"I'll try not to think too much about anything to do with winning - I'll just go out and try to shoot good scores, stay in the present, focus on my process and if I do that hopefully on Sunday I'll have a good chance."

Rory McIlroy has finished joint fourth and tied for fifth in his last two Opens
Rory McIlroy has finished joint fourth and tied for fifth in his last two Opens

Pace key to putting

McIlroy has struggled with his putting in recent weeks, but he thinks the hard work he has put in will pay off on the tricky Scottish greens.

"The one thing I learned at the Irish Open was that I had to transition to slower greens. You need to keep the ball running at the hole.

"That's the plan this week - be a little more assertive with my speed and I feel if I do that I can hole some putts.

"If it loses speed at all the ball tends to wander off one way or the other. If you can keep speed on the ball and not mind if it maybe goes three feet past and it holds its line on these greens it has a better chance of going in."

Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans during the final practice day for the 2018 Open Championship
Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans during the final practice day for the 2018 Open Championship

'Controlled aggression' on McIlroy agenda

The four-time major winner is back at Carnoustie for the first time in 11 years after winning the Silver Medal for the best amateur as a teenager at the Open in 2007.

McIlroy says he would like to be able to recapture the swashbuckling he employed at that stage of his career this time round.

"A lot has happened in those 11 years. It was a great opportunity and a chance to see what a major tournament was all about. If I can play with the same young abandon that I did back then that would be nice.

"This course lends itself to that - if I can get driver in my hands for the most part and take some fairway bunkers out of play, there's less trouble on this golf course than there was in 2007.

"There are a few less gorse bushes too that they have taken out on some holes so you can be aggressive if you want to.

"Obviously that brings its own risks but at the same time if you're hitting the ball well, you can get it down there and get a wedge in your hand.

"Reducing some of those tough par fours to a driver and a wedge gives you birdie opportunities so that's the plan this week.

"Hopefully I can keep hitting the ball as well as I've been doing in practice and if I can do that I think it'll be a good week."

McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, taking a career-best 100 putts for the tournament in the process, finished joint-fifth at the Masters in April and has had three other top-fives this season.

His only real blemish was missing the US Open cut after a 10-over-par 80 in the first round.