US Open: New father Rory McIlroy hoping 'nappy factor' will help end six-year major drought

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy is yet to win a tournament since golf's restart after lockdown
120th US Open
Date: 17-20 September Venue: Winged Foot, New York
Coverage: Live text commentary on BBC Sport website from 13:00 BST of opening two rounds and from 19:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and Sport Extra - full details

Rory McIlroy is hoping golf's 'nappy factor' will work in his favour at this week's US Open at Winged Foot.

New fathers have experienced an unusually high rate of success and the 120th US Open will be McIlroy's first major since becoming a father.

The Northern Irishman's wife Erica gave birth to daughter Poppy two weeks ago and he said it has helped "put things in perspective a little bit".

"My career matters to me and I care about it very much," he said.

"But at the same time, it makes the hard days a little easier to get over, right?

"When I say it's not the be-all and end-all, it's a major championship and I've grown up my whole life dreaming of winning these tournaments.

"That's not going to change, but if it doesn't quite happen, I can live with that and go home and be very happy, and leave what's happened at the golf course, at the golf course.

"I think that's maybe something that I haven't done so well in the past. I haven't left my job at the office basically, I've brought it home with me, and I've let it affect my mood and how I am."

Rory McIlroy
McIlroy went into lockdown as the number one in the world

World-number-four McIlroy is aiming to end a six-year wait for a fifth major win this week, and a victory would also be his first since golf's return from the Covid-19 lockdown.

A tie for seventh place in this month's Tour Championship at East Lake - based on 72-hole scores rather than the tournament's handicap system - was the 31-year-old's first top 10 since the restart.

His first major victory came in the 2011 US Open and the former world number one believes he needs to get off to a strong start on Thursday to have a chance of repeating that success.

"If you looked at my major championship performances over the last few years, I've just got off to slow starts," the four-time major winner said.

"I probably just put a little too much pressure on myself going into tournaments.

"And from there, shooting a bad score on the first day and putting yourself under even more pressure from there to just make it to the weekend, and then to try to play catch-up, I think that's been the big thing.

"When I start tournaments well, I seem to stay up there. I started Pebble (Beach) last year with a nice score and stayed up there for the most part, although I didn't quite finish the week the way I wanted to.

"But that's been the big thing for me. If I can start and put a good solid round together on a Thursday, I'm usually right there."

McIlroy has been teamed with 2013 champion Justin Rose and Adam Scott, with the trio teeing off at 13:07 BST on Thursday.

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