Rory McIlroy is deliberately trying to keep his Open Championship campaign low key as expectations rocket about the possibility of him securing a home win in Northern Ireland. I want to play here as long as I possibly can and you have to understand if I play a lot, I won't be out here that long'.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion, will draw huge crowds when the tournament gets underway on Thursday.
On the PGA Tour this season, McIlroy ranks 1st for both strokes gained off the tee and tee to green, in addition to 2nd for scoring average and 6th for both birdie average and SG: Approach the green.
The list of press conferences taking place yesterday read like a who's who of global golf, with Brooks Koepka, US Open champion Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson all taking their turns in front of the cameras and tape recorders. "And I think as well it will be a massive thing for the country".
"I've got a few days to work on that part".
"So, yeah, the strokes gained numbers this year, and I've had a goal - if you're consistently around two and a half strokes gained, that's a really nice place to live".
That said, you don't hit the heights Woods has without a fire burning inside, and he is adamant that the tools are still there to make a run at the title, as he did at Carnoustie 12 months ago, even if his body isn't as receptive to the rigours of professional golf as once it was, with extra work going into being ready these days.
A RECORD-breaking crowd of 237,750 is attending The 148 Open at Royal Portrush, setting an attendance record for a championship staged outside St Andrews. It's just a very similar feel to what I had growing up.
"I don't think when he grew up that he ever thought there would be an Open Championship here", said Koepka, who visited Elliott's parents and took in the sights of Portrush and its infamous Harbour Bar after arriving last week.
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"I've played well here before". We would like to thank all the fans for their passion and enthusiasm as we look forward to finding out who will lift the Claret Jug on Sunday. I sort of was anxious, I got here last Saturday thinking the course is going to change, the setup for an Open might be different.
Clarke was brought up further inland at Dungannon but has a house next to the course and said it was an "honour" to be asked by the R&A to begin proceedings. Because I finished early. This is just a wonderful golf course.
"I think we have to keep growing the Open", Slumbers added.
"I've played this place enough times to know where to miss it, where not to miss it, where the good leaves are".
"Harry has played more rounds of golf on this golf course than I have, and definitely more competitive rounds". You just have to navigate the bunkers and navigate around the golf course. So that is a big help this week.
As well as McIlroy, Northern Ireland has two other major winners in action this week in Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke. And he's adament that he's also treating it just like any other year, too.
"I've had a great support". But up to this point the build up, it really hasn't been much different, which has been a nice thing. "And just the buzz from the people this week, it's been unbelievable the last few days". I've played well on this golf course.
"The fact we have got one of the world's top sporting events coming to Northern Ireland, I think, just is indicative of how this place has changed and how people perceive the place as a safe place to come and have one of world's largest events and have one of biggest turnouts you could ever imagine". The green is perched on the cliff edge and players could go out of bounds just two or three yards over the back. "I've always felt I've played my best golf when I've been totally relaxed and loose".