- Open Championship
Lads' holiday has McIlroy smiling again
Rory McIlroy says a recent lads' holiday to Ibiza has got him smiling once again as he prepares to try and correct a poor record at his home major when the Open kicks off at Hoylake next week.
The 25-year-old took a week off with his friends on the island a fortnight ago, after missing the cut at the Irish Open. He had admitted to feeling "flat" following a strenuous period which saw him split with Caroline Wozniacki in May and play six out of eight weeks.
His trip to Ibiza was the kind of break McIlroy has not been accustomed to taking during his much-publicised relationships with Wozniacki, and, before her, teenage sweetheart Holly Sweeney. But now he is feeling refreshed and recharged for his Open challenge.
"I had just over a couple of weeks off and in the first of those I went on holiday with a few of the boys, which was nice as I just chilled out," said McIlroy
"It was the first time in four years that I had gone on a lads' trip. It was great, chilled out and it was nice to get away from the game for a bit. It was nice to have that chance to recharge the batteries.
"I didn't touch a golf club while I was there. But once I got back, I really wanted to get back into it again."
McIlroy also insists he is still good friends with compatriot Graeme McDowell - who retained his French Open title last week - even though they are fighting in court.
McDowell's name has been brought into the debate by McIlroy's lawyers in their legal action against his former management company, Horizon Sports, with suggestions the move could threaten Europe's Ryder Cup harmony.
"It's complete nonsense," McIlroy said. "I would love to tee it up with G-Mac in the Ryder Cup and Paul [McGinley] knows that. I am still as close to G-Mac. There's obviously been a few things that have gone on that have strained the relationship, but I still talk to him regularly and catch up with him.
"He has stayed out of everything as much as he can. There's no ill feeling towards him from my side. G-Mac knows what is going on [with the court case]. It hasn't affected our relationship in any way. At times, it's awkward because he's with someone [McIlroy's former agents] and I'm with someone but we are the same two people. He's been one of my best friends on Tour and showed me the ropes. I will always be grateful for what he's done."