Scottish Open 2014: Rory McIlroy feels in fine fettle for the Open after lads’ weekend in Ibiza

Northern Irishman ready for build up to third major of the year after sunshine break

aberdeen

The lads’ night out has evolved over the years. What was once the business of local town centres on Friday and Saturday nights has rolled into the big weekend abroad or, in Rory McIlroy’s case, five days on a boat in Ibiza.

And so it is, with batteries boosted after a long spell in the field, McIlroy approaches the countdown to next week’s Open Championship, starting at the Scottish Open here. “We would go out to sea every day, so it wasn’t quite your typical lads’ trip. But it was really nice just to get away from things for a while. We still did a few of the things that lads do but it was needed.”

McIlroy’s social life made the news again at the weekend when he was out and about in Dublin with friends including the Irish model Nadia Forde. To clear up any potential misunderstandings McIlroy made it clear that he was firmly and happily single and that his commitment is only to golf.

“A few a year [lads’ gatherings] does me, to be honest. I’m just living my life and doing what I’m supposed to do, which is be a professional golfer, focus and practise hard. That’s exactly what has happened. I took that week off [post-Irish Open] and as soon as I got back home again I just wanted to go and practise and get ready for links golf.

“I’ve been staying with my parents in Northern Ireland. We had Steve MacGregor [trainer] over and I was in the gym every morning. It [Ibiza] just rejuvenated me. I don’t feel like I miss out on anything by being a professional golfer. If anything, I have a better life because of it.”

Phil Mickelson is defending Scottish Open and Open titles (Getty) Phil Mickelson is defending Scottish Open and Open titles (Getty)
Ibiza is the default staging post for sportsmen in rehabilitation. It has been home these past few weeks for sundry footballers seeking succour post-World Cup defeat. It was also the place to which Novak Djokovic repaired for a week after the French Open to prepare for Wimbledon. “Maybe I can do the same as he did and win the Open next week,” McIlroy said to keep the banter flowing.

He begins his challenge in the company of Jamie Donaldson and Thongchai Jaidee. With the Open only a week away, the links terrain of Royal Aberdeen has drawn a powerful field including the cream of European talent, as well as the defending champion Phil Mickelson and Ricky Fowler from the US.

Mickelson is grouped with Luke Donald and Joost Luiten among the morning starters. Fowler leads the afternoon bonanza alongside Victor Dubuisson and Thomas Bjorn. Also teeing off in the same group after lunch are Lee Westwood and Justin Rose.

Playing with caddie Bones Mackay on Tuesday, Mickelson is already in the money after handing a beating to Padraig Harrington and his looper Ronan Flood. Mickelson has an engaging attachment to tradition and has grown to love the links terrain that was alien to the California boy growing up in San Diego.

“There has been some smack talking going on for a while so Bones and I took them on. We were four up after five holes. After that they didn’t want to know,” Mickelson said, obviously delighted to be in fighting nick ahead of the double defence of his Scottish and British crowns.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy