The U.S. Open Champion is back in the United States.
“It’s great to be back here and feel the reception I got out there today, even just in the practice round it was incredible,” said McIlroy, who will play this week’s World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and next week’s PGA Championship. “I mean, really happy to be back, and as I said, looking forward to two big weeks.”
McIlroy, 22, admits he has been tugged here and there with personal obligations back home in Northern Ireland since his win, including at last week’s European Tour Irish Open where he tied for 34th. So this two-week stretch represents a bit of a respite.
“This week is a big week,” he said. “It will be great to get myself into contention and have a chance to win, but ultimately you’re really just looking to get the game in the best possible shape going into next week, the last major of the year.
“I feel as if I can have a good one this week, get a bit of confidence going into next week, I can have a good chance of winning my second major. That’s the thought process that I’m going through at the minute.”
With his new found fame, though, have come a few dust-ups. After tying for 25th at the Open Championship, McIlroy was critical of the weather conditions and how they are not suited for his game.
Last week, he got into a Tweeting spat with a BBC golf analyst who was critical of his course management decisions.
Not that McIlroy is opposed to playing the European Tour, it is just that his favorite events — the Masters, the Wells Fargo Championship, the WGC events, the Memorial Tournament — happen to be played in the U.S.
“I feel as if I play my best golf over here,” he said. “I’m very comfortable in this country. You know, I’m going to look at a few houses down in Florida after the PGA. Yeah, I’m definitely looking towards coming back and playing a full schedule over here.”
As for the Twitter, he will use a bit more discretion before hitting the send button, but it will not keep him from being candid, which is one of the qualities that has endeared him with fans.
“It’s tough because different people have different opinions,” he said. “And some people have an opinion about what you say and whether it’s good or bad. Speaking your mind creates conversation, and as long as you’re willing to accept the criticism that comes along with that, then that’s fine.
“I’m always very honest in interviews and I’m always trying to give good answers and try to at least … if someone asks me a question, at least give an honest answer, so that’s all I try and do.”
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.