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Rory McIlroy puts resilience from US Open heartbreak to the test at Scottish Open ahead of The Open

Rory McIlroy returns as defending champion at the Genesis Scottish Open and then chases an elusive fifth major title at The 152nd Open at Royal Troon; Watch both events this month live on Sky Sports Golf or stream with NOW

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Anticipation builds for what will be the 152nd edition of the Open Championship at Royal Troon, live exclusively on Sky Sports

When Rory McIlroy won on the PGA Tour at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans earlier this season, he celebrated – with friend and team-mate Shane Lowry alongside him – by belting out the words of karaoke classic "Don't Stop Believin".

The title and lyrics to that iconic track by Journey may resonate with McIlroy when he returns to action for back-to-back events in Scotland, both live on Sky Sports, with a title defence at the Genesis Scottish Open followed by another attempt at ending his major drought at The 152nd Open.

It will be the first time we will see McIlroy back in tournament play since his final-round heartbreak at the US Open, where he seemed destined for a first major title since 2014 until three bogeys in his last four holes saw Bryson DeChambeau snatch a one-shot victory.

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Highlights from a thrilling final round of the US Open at Pinehurst No 2

McIlroy was left to rue two missed putts from inside four feet over the closing stretch at Pinehurst No 2, with another runner-up finish meaning the Northern Irishman's wait for a fifth major trophy - to quote the song - "goes on and on and on and on".

A line earlier in that verse refers to the fact that "some'll win, some'll lose". McIlroy now has 21 top-10 finishes in majors since his 2014 PGA Championship success - more than any other player - without adding to his major tally.

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Wayne 'Radar' Riley looks back at Rory McIlroy's win at Valhalla in 2014 at the PGA Championship, his last major triumph

McIlroy talked the day after last month's runner-up finish about the past resilience he has shown his career and how he was "closer than ever" to winning his next major. Previously, he has described ending his major drought as the "final piece of the puzzle".

The puzzle analogy comes with him having achieved virtually everything else possible during the decade of major hurt. Multiple FedExCup victories, Race to Dubai successes and three Ryder Cup wins - most recently as Europe's star man in Rome - all feature on that glittering golfing CV.

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McIlroy has also already won multiple times this year, defending his Hero Dubai Desert Classic on the DP World Tour in January before ending a run of failing to contend on the PGA Tour by winning back-to-back starts in New Orleans and the Wells Fargo Championship.

Those wins have not been converted into major glory, with questions growing on whether McIlroy ever recovers from squandering his best chance yet at the US Open - Sir Nick Faldo feared the putts missed last month "could haunt him forever".

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Sky Sports' Wayne Riley and Dame Laura Davies analyse McIlroy's late collapse at the US Open and assess his ability to bounce back

The scar tissue from the US Open won't be fully clear until he tees it up in the Rolex Series event, where he will want to "hold on to that feelin'" of last year's dramatic one-shot victory over Robert MacIntyre rather than his major disappointment.

McIlroy's sensational birdie-birdie finish 12 months ago earned him a first professional win in Scotland and left him favourite to win The Open a week later at Hoylake, where he lifted the Claret Jug nine years earlier to move three-quarters of the way to the career Grand Slam.

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Highlights from a dramatic final round as McIlroy secured a dramatic victory over Robert MacIntyre at the Scottish Open

A victory didn't materialise at Royal Liverpool, where he finished seven strokes behind Brian Harman despite improving his score each day, with McIlroy now having top-six finishes in six of his last eight Open Championship appearances without success.

The song sung after April's win references "payin' anything to roll the dice, just one more time". McIlroy said after a runner-up finish in the 2023 US Open - where a cold putter saw him also finish second - that he would "go through 100 Sundays like this to get my hands on another major".

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McIlroy and Shane Lowry celebrated their Zurich Classic of New Orleans victory in style with an impressive rendition of 'Don't Stop Believin!'

A good defence in Scotland can banish some of the US Open pain and send him to Royal Troon confident of finally ending the journey to get back in the major winner's circle.

McIlroy certainly won't stop believing that a fifth major is getting closer.

Watch Rory McIlroy in PGA Tour and DP World Tour action live this season on Sky Sports. Watch the Genesis Scottish Open live from July 11-14 and the 152nd Open at Royal Troon from July 18-21 on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, majors and more with NOW.

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