Rory McIlroy happy to be injury-free before Irish Open
By Mathieu Wood
Last Updated: 03/07/17 8:28pm
Rory McIlroy is excited to have a run of competitions ahead of him as he builds towards The Open at Royal Birkdale later this month, live on Sky Sports.
McIlroy, who is defending his Irish Open title, has battled against rib and back injuries and is without a tournament success this year.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, live on Sky Sports 4, is the third event in the lucrative Rolex Series, and is being hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart following last year's edition at the K Club.
"[Happy] to be able to get on a run of events now, McIlroy told Sky Sports News HQ. "I have played in two of the last three [tournaments] but to now play three in a row leading up to The Open - I have got a busy summer ahead.
"I am excited to be playing and excited to be injury-free and feel like my game is rounding into some good form."
McIlroy, the world No 4, has 13 European Tour victories to his name but has been limited to tournament appearances throughout the first half of the year and is eager to impress at his home event.
He added: "I am feeling good. Obviously, it's been a disappointing year - so stop-start with the injury and everything."
The four-time major winner believes his game is in good shape and is looking forward to the Portstewart challenge in Northern Ireland.
"I wanted to get to know this golf course pretty well," he said. "I had never seen it before this week, especially after all the changes they made.
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"The golf course looks great. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the guys handle it and we are in for an exciting week - especially if the weather holds like this."
McIlroy, who will be joined by a raft of high-profile names including Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose, young Spanish star Jon Rahm and the in-form Open de France winner Tommy Fleetwood is expecting a "good challenge".
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"There's a few guys that have played here," McIlroy said. "I know Jon Rahm played here a couple years ago in the British Amateur when they were qualifying. There will be some guys familiar with it.
"You know what links golf is like - it can change from one day to the next depending on the conditions and the wind.
"If there's a stiff breeze it will provide a good challenge for the guys and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes."
Watch the Irish Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 10.30am.