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.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style