Rory McIlroy is confident that his commitments off the golf course at this week’s Irish Open will not hinder his challenge at Royal County Down.
Rory’s charitable foundation is the official tournament host and he is certain to have a busy week.
The world number one’s best Irish Open finish was a seventh spot in 2008 seven years ago
That was his first Irish Open appearance as a professional and since then his best was a 34th spot in 2011 with him missing the cut at Carton House and Fota Island over the last two years.
McIlroy, 26, is determined to play a better tournement showing this year despite his off-course obligations.
“I haven’t really played well in the Irish Open and that’s something that hasn’t sat well with me for a few years,” added McIlroy, who surprisingly missed the cut at last week’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
“I think it’s to do with maybe trying too hard when you get back home and you maybe push yourself too much.”
“I am just going to try and enjoy myself this year and relish the opportunity to play at home.”
“I feel like I have found a nice balance between what I am doing on the course and what I am doing off the course, and even in weeks like this where you go to evening functions and try to help as much as you can to put on a great event.”
McIlroy’s involvement in this week’s tournament has led to big names Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia, signing up for the event.
And the world number one will play alongside recent Players Championship winner Fowler and US Open champion Kaymer over the opening two rounds.
McIlroy, Fowler and Kaymer will tee off at 08:00 BST on Thursday morning with Garcia playing alongside Padraig Harrington and defending champion Mikko Ilonen at 12:50 in the afternoon.
“With the players coming to play Royal County Down, it’s going to be a great week and I just hope I can put on a good performance for all the fans back home,” added McIlroy.
“I haven’t been as excited for a golf tournament this year, apart from the Masters for obvious reasons.
“Royal County Down is probably rated as one of the top five golf courses in the world.”
McIlroy’s early Wentworth exit came as a shock, a week after his Wells Fargo Championship win on the PGA Tour.
Update: As of 12.30pm on Thursday 28 May 2015
Rory’s currently at +8 with the highest score
Rickie Fowler on -1 after 15 holes.