The Open championship at Royal Portrush may be just around the corner but Rory McIlroy insists his full focus is on this week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.
The former world number one will be cheered on by an expectant home crowd when golf’s oldest major returns to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.
McIlroy will play the opening two rounds of the Rolex Series event with Rickie Fowler and Oban’s Robert MacIntyre.
He said: “As much as the weeks before set you up for the week after, I’m playing with this event with two eyes firmly focused on the Scottish Open.
“It’s not as if I’m trying to replicate shots or different things here that I might be doing in Portrush.
“First and foremost, I want to play well here.
“I want to get myself into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament.
“I think if I do that, that’s the best way to prepare for next week. You know, get yourself into contention and feel the heat of getting in there on Sunday and trying to play some good golf.”
McIlroy has never won in Scotland and would love to end the wait for a title at the home of golf at Renaissance Club on Sunday.
He added: “I definitely would like to.
“I’ve been close a couple of times in Opens.
“I was proud to add another national open to my CV a few weeks ago in Canada.
“I’m here fully focused on this event.
“I think it’s a little disrespectful when people come in and they are treating it as a warm-up.
“I think most tournaments deserve to stand on their own two feet and have some stature, and The Scottish Open is one of these events on The European Tour.
“It’s a big event with a lot of prize money and a lot of points so it deserves to stand-alone and not just be this tournament that’s attached on to the week after.”