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
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)
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.
Latest in Sport
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Manchester United goalkeeper spotted arriving at Madrid airport
Angel Di Maria to Bayern Munich: Manchester United to make £24m loss as club want '£35m' for Argentina flop
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
- 4 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 5 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives