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McIlroy needs to banish that sinking Friday feeling

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland listens to questions during a news conference ahead of the British Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake

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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland listens to questions during a news conference ahead of the British Open …

By Tony Jimenez

HOYLAKE England (Reuters) - Rory McIlroy needs to start playing a few tricks on his mind in order to eliminate that sinking Friday feeling he has been experiencing, the former world number one said on Tuesday.

Last week was typical of the bad habit that has been stalling the Northern Irishman's progress in recent tournaments.

McIlroy opened with a pacesetting 64 in the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen only to drop down the field like a stone with a seven-over-par 78 in the second round.

Asked by reporters at the British Open at Royal Liverpool if he felt it was starting to become a recurring problem, he replied: "Yes it does. It's one that I'd like to stop this week.

"It's more that I just get it in my head and I may be putting a bit too much pressure on myself on Fridays in trying to back up a good score.

"I have no problem shooting a low one on Thursdays so there should be no reason I have any problem shooting a low one on Fridays. I need to go out and pretend like it's a Thursday again."

The twice major winner, however, said the positives far outweighed the negatives at Royal Aberdeen.

"I'm glad I played in Scotland," added the eighth-ranked McIlroy. "I feel as prepared as I ever have coming into a British Open because I played four competitive rounds on a links course and played in some different conditions.

"It was a good week in terms of preparation for this week. The game feels in good shape, I feel like I got a lot of good links practice which will hopefully help."

The Florida-based McIlroy is not happy with his record in the British Open - he has one top-10 finish in six previous appearances - and believes his ability to master seaside courses is not what it was when he was a fresh-faced teenager.

"I played so much links golf in my amateur days," he explained. "I was used to playing the shots you need on links courses a little bit more.

"I guess when you go out on Tour and you especially play the majority of your golf in the U.S. you start to neglect some of the shots you might need in conditions like this.

"I don't think I've evolved that much as a links player but I've been trying, especially the last few weeks, to really practice hard on some of the shots I might need this week."

Fourteen-times major champion Tiger Woods barely got the driver out of his bag when he lifted the Claret Jug in bone-hard conditions at Hoylake eight years ago.

The course is lusher and greener now and McIlroy confidently predicted that Woods's strategy would not be repeated this time.

"I don't think it's going to be an option to hit an iron off every tee box," added the winner of the 2011 U.S. Open and 2012 U.S. PGA Championship.

"You are going to have to be slightly aggressive off the tee and take some things on. The ball is not going to run too much on the fairways... it's just not as firm as it was back in 2006."

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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