In sport, fine margins are the difference between success and failure. Rory McIlroy playing in the Aberdeen Asset Management 2014 Scottish Open could well prove to be the best decision he will make in his career. With success comes preparation and Royal Aberdeen proved to be the perfect environment to allow one of the world’s most talented golfers to lift his first Claret Jug.
What did Rory learn the week before?
Acclimatising to Links Golf
Royal Liverpool once again showcased golf in the purest form. With the change in weather conditions over the week, a dry and hard golf course and the ability to manufacture a range of shots it is so very different to anything on either PGA or European Tour. Royal Aberdeen was anticipated to be the equal or greater test of golf with Royal Liverpool. Links golf is different, it requires a modified game of all shot types, it needs refined. Rory knew this.
Rory – 2014 Scottish Open
With links golf you will learn to take the rough with the smooth. A well intended drive can hop straight left into a pot bunker, you may get the rough side of the draw on Thursday/Friday and you will hit the buffers. During round 2 at the Scottish Open Rory got all this and more resulting in following up his world class Thursday round of 64 (setting a new course record in a stiff breeze) with a 7-over par 78. The ‘Second Round Syndrome’ reared it’s ugly head once more. Rory knew he needed this examination. He sure got it that week. This opportunity acted as a cleansing process showcasing durability and a strength of resilience heading into The Open Championship.
To discover where his game was at, Rory faced a very strong field at Royal Aberdeen (the strongest so far this season on the European Tour) leading the tournament, facing set backs and fighting back in Round 4 he soon found out. When transferring south to Liverpool that Sunday Rory knew he was ready to win his first Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool that following week.
With the last 4 Open Champions coming from the Scottish Open field the week prior how many more will tee it up at Gullane in 2015? More I suspect.