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McIlroy still on learning curve

US OPEN, Bethpage Black
Date: 18-21 June (first tee off at 1200 BST on Thursday)
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra (Saturday 2100 BST), live on BBC Radio 5 Live (Sun 2100 BST). Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and regular updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Live on Sky Sports.
Golf on the BBC

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy has stormed into the world's top 20

Rory McIlroy says he is still on a learning curve as he prepares for his first crack at a US Open at Bethpage.

"I felt I played well at the Masters but this is my first US Open and I've never really experienced anything like this before," said McIlroy.

"It's all new for me so I don't know what to expect when Thursday comes or what way the golf course is set up.

"I could say to myself that a top-20 finish will be great but I want to try and do better than that."

"If I can go out and play the way I know I can, I know I'm able to shoot under par on this golf course. I don't want to just finish in the top 20."

McIlroy will be competing in a major championship for only the third time as a professional when he tackles the notoriously difficult Bethpage Black course and samples the boisterous New York crowds, but he feels refreshed for the challenge.

"I played four on the spin - The Players Championship, Irish Open, Wentworth and the European Open," he said.

"I felt I needed two weeks off to recover and recharge the batteries because there's a big summer of golf coming up for me.

I just have to go out and play my golf - If it's good enough, it's good enough

Rory McIlroy

"I feel as if I've prepared well and I'm driving the ball really well.

"Obviously I haven't had a lot of competitive golf in the last couple of weeks, but I feel as if I'm hitting the ball well and will have a chance to shoot some good scores."

Asked if he felt ready to challenge world number one Tiger Woods in his own backyard, McIlroy paused at length and smiled.

"If he plays the way he did in the last round at Memorial, then no.

"I can't control what he does or what anyone else in the field does.

"I just have to go out and play my golf. If it's good enough, it's good enough. If it's not, then so be it.

"Players don't go into majors thinking I have to do this to beat Tiger, I have to do that to beat Tiger.

"They go in and they concentrate on their own game.

"If their own game at the end of the day isn't good enough, then that's the way it goes."

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see also
McIlroy drops down European field
31 May 09 |  Golf

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