McIlroy ready to defend at US Open


It has been a curious last few weeks for Rory McIlroy as he prepares to achieve what no man has done in 23 years — successfully defend the US Open. The last man to do so was Curtis Strange in 1989, but such was the convincing manner of the Northern Irishman’s eight-stroke victory at Congressional last year, that many believed he was capable of back-to-back wins. Three missed cuts in recent tournaments though have cast doubts on his current form. Although he showed improved form at the St Jude Classic in Memphis last week, a poor finish was not the best way to come into The Olympic Club. The 23-year-old world number two believes that getting in the extra tournament play ahead of the year’s second major — when he’s usually taking time off to prepare — fits the bill this time around. “It’s not like it was my fourth tournament in a row and I’ve been in contention for four weeks in a row and it drains you and takes a lot out of you mentally and physically,” he said. “The first couple of weeks of that stretch I had the weekend off, where I was just on the range hitting balls. So I feel fresh. “I feel like I had a great four days up here, the weekend of Memorial and before Memphis and got some really good work done here. “And I felt like as soon as I got to Memphis I was straight into the tournament, so I wasn’t waiting around for it. I feel like it’s worked out well for me.”