Rory McIlroy insists he would not swap his consistency for world number one Brooks Koepka’s feast-or-famine approach.
Koepka has won four major titles compared to just two regular PGA Tour tournaments and admits he has a different mental attitude when it comes to the game’s biggest events.
McIlroy has won two PGA Tour events this season alone and 21 times worldwide outside of the majors, but has not won one since 2014 and saw a chance to end his drought this season fizzle out in the final round of the US Open.
Asked if he would trade peaking in the majors for a season which has produced 11 top-10 finishes in 13 events, McIlroy said: “No, I wouldn’t trade.
“I look at Brooks and you see what he does in these majors and you think, ‘wow, if he produced this sort of stuff every week, it would be very tough to compete’.
“Why that is, I have no idea. But he obviously does put a lot of extra emphasis on the majors and it works for him. When I try to put extra emphasis on tournaments, it almost goes the other way for me. I need to relax and I need to just sort of let it go. That’s how I play my best golf.
I look at what I’ve done this year and my results, scoring average and stats and everything is right where it needs to be. I honestly think this peaking for majors is a little bit of a myth.
“You’re trying to play well every week. Why would you turn up at tournaments if you didn’t want to try to compete and win and play good golf?”
McIlroy was pleasantly surprised to feel right at home at Royal Portrush after reacquainting himself with the venue for next week’s Open Championship.
McIlroy set the course record at Portrush with a 61 in the North of Ireland Championship as a 16-year-old, although the layout has since been changed, with the previous 17th and 18th holes removed and two new ones built into the middle of the round.
Large grandstands have also been erected to house some of the 43,750 spectators who will attend each championship day as the Open returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.
"I expected it to feel different than it did. It still just feels like Portrush to me,” McIlroy said of his practice round on Saturday.
“Yes, the stands are up and it looks fantastic, but it’s still the same golf course. I haven’t played it much over the last few years.
“We played the Irish Open there in 2012. I played the new holes in 2017 and played 18 holes in October.
“When I got on the first tee, everything sort of started coming back to me; on the second tee, I aim it at the brown house. It felt like just the same old golf course that I grew up playing and it was nice.
I had not seen my mum in three months and I made arrangements to go to dinner with them and I said, can we have it about 8.00 because I don’t know how much time I’m going to have to spend at Portrush.
“And I ended up moving the dinner forward because I didn’t need to spend as much as time as I thought I did, which I guess is a comforting thing in a way.”
McIlroy — who opted against competing in the Irish Open last week, a tournament he hosted for the previous four years — and Portrush native Graeme McDowell will be the centre of attention on home soil, but McIlroy is taking great confidence from his recent Open record as he tries to lift the Claret Jug for a second time and end a five-year major drought.
“It’s the same golf course I’ve grown up playing my whole life, and it’s the same tournament I haven’t finished outside the top five for the last few years,” McIlroy added.
“They are two pretty good factors and I just need to keep reminding myself of that.”