The Open 2021: Rory McIlroy hopes missed cut will prove good omen

Rory McIlroy took advantage of missing the cut at the Scottish Open to get in some early practice at Royal St George's
Rory McIlroy took advantage of missing the cut at the Scottish Open to get in some early practice at Royal St George’s

Rory McIlroy is hoping his missed cut at last week’s Scottish Open will prove to be a good omen as he gears up for this week’s Open Championship.

The 2014 Open champion missed the cut at the Masters in April but won his next event at Quail Hollow.

“You never want to miss a cut, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad one,” said the 32-year-old Northern Irishman.

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

After missing the cut by one shot at the Renaissance Club on the east Lothian coast, McIlroy headed south to the Kent coast and played “a few holes on Saturday and a full round on Sunday” at Royal St George’s.

“It felt like I got a head start on the rest of the field, which feels good,” he added.

“You always learn more about your game when you’ve missed a cut or struggled or not played as well.

“I’ve always tried to figure out 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.

“I’ve been able to do that in the past. I missed the cut at Memorial a couple years ago, went down and won the Canadian Open the next week. I missed the cut at the Masters and then went and my next start was Quail Hollow and I won.”

McIlroy also pointed out those are the reasons he “did not dwell” on missing the cut at the last Open – the 2019 event at Royal Portrush in his home country. His only other missed cut at The Open was in 2013 and he went on to win the Claret Jug the following year.

“If anything, it was a catalyst for me to play some of my best golf,” he said. “I left Portrush obviously very disappointed, but by February of 2020, I got back to number one in the world.

“I moved forward, set my sights on other things. I ended up winning the Fedex Cup in 2019. I won a World Golf Championship in China.

“I’ve always made it a priority in my career to really try to learn from my mistakes, all the way back to what happened at Augusta in 2011 [McIlroy blew a four-shot lead in the final round] and going and winning the US Open, the next major.”

McIlroy was tied for the lead with nine holes remaining in the final round at last month’s US Open and said he would “take my chances” if he played as well again this week.

“I feel like I can play better but yeah, of course sitting here today, if I’m tied for the lead with nine holes to go on Sunday, I’d obviously take it and take my chances.”