Rory McIlroy plans to be the last man in and the last man out at the Open Championship. The US Open champion – aka "the hottest man in golf" – yesterday revealed how he will skip the first two official practice days at Royal St George's, delaying his long-awaited reappearance until the eve of the British major.
McIlroy will almost certainly be the final player of the 156-man field to tee it up in front of the expectant crowds on the Kent coast in two weeks' time. That's because of his "do your reconnaisance early, remain out of the glare" gameplan.
"I will spend two days at Sandwich on the Thursday and Friday of next week," said McIlroy, who will play in the Open after a three-week competitive break. "I'll then stay away until the Tuesday afternoon when I have a press conference. But I won't play until the Wednesday."
McIlroy is following the blueprint of Jack Nicklaus, the 18-time major winner who has been advising the Ulsterman. "It's good to arrive there fresh because there's so much going on at a major," said McIlroy. For the player already hailed as golf's next "great" that will apply hugely at St George's.
His popularity was evidenced by the media scrum for his attentions at yesterday's Oakley sponsors day in London when his outfits for the Open were unveiled. McIlroy, who will today attend Wimbledon and then on Saturday be in Hamburg for David Haye's bid to unify the world heavyweight titles, has been so busy since his return from America he hasn't stepped foot on a course.
"I've been on the range and am spending Thursday and Friday with my coach, Michael Bannon," he said. "I'll ensure I've prepared properly."