"He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing". 'Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's, you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening.
The former world number one's putting has often been described as his Achilles heel.
'It's true I didn't see the fairways much but the rough is very playable for the most part.
McIlroy lived dangerously, hitting only four fairways, but promised to keep to his aggressive strategy of using a driver on most holes.
"I just had a brain fart and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble and it plugged deep into it".
But, more than a decade on from his Open debut, at this course in 2007, there was nothing passive about his approach to the opening round of this year's championship nor, for that matter, his opinions on Butch Harmon's description of him as "robotic". Like I said, I hadn't felt the energy of the crowd for a while in The Open.
Kisner, who led by a shot after 54 holes of last year's US PGA before finishing seventh, carded a five-under-par 66 to enjoy a one-shot lead over compatriot Tony Finau and the South African pair of Erik van Rooyen and Zander Lombard.
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Tiger Woods was among the later starters and arrived at the course with Kinesio Tape visible on the back of his neck, a worrying sign given the 42-year-old's litany of injury problems in recent seasons.
"I think anything under-par out there today was a good score".
He revived his hopes with birdies at nine and 11 before giving one back at the next, but he suddenly found himself in a tie for the lead with eventual victor Francesco Molinari when he holed a mammoth putt for eagle at the long 14th which hauled him to six under.
The majority of the players are choosing to take irons off the tee to counteract the excessive ball roll they are getting from the sun-baked fairways.
"The round could certainly have been a little better", he added.
That left him three shots off first-round pacesetter Kevin Kisner and firmly in contention.
Darren Clarke (+11) tees off at 2.37pm.