Rory McIlroy might have come up just short in his bid to win The 147th Open but he insists there are only positive to take from his week at Carnoustie.
The four-time major champ recovered from a slow start to finish in a tie for second, two shots behindItaly’s first-ever major champion Francesco Molinari.
It’s now over four years since McIlroy won the most recent of his major titles but, equally, it’s his best finish since he got his hands on the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool in 2014.
Judging by his post-round reaction at Carnoustie, he’s focusing more on the latter than the former.
“I don't really feel like it's a defeat,” said McIlroy. “I feel like it's a good week. One guy out of 156 is going to win, 155 other guys are going to leave a little disappointed.
“I committed to everything. I hit the shots when I needed to. I just ran out of holes.”
The next time McIlroy tees it up in The Open, it will be in his home country, with Royal Portrush set to stage the championship next year for the first time since 1951.
“I can't wait,” he added. “It would be nice to go in there with a Claret Jug. It's my third or fourth top-five in a row at this tournament, so I play this tournament well. I have done for the last few years now, and I'm excited to play an Open Championship at Portrush. That will be unbelievable.”
The Northern Irishman also had words of praise for the new ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ Francesco Molinari.
“He's always been a great player,” said McIlroy. “I think, with how he's played this year, there's just maybe a little more belief. I played with him the final day at Wentworth, where he won, and he didn't miss a shot. So there's going to be a lot of European guys vying for his partnership in the foursomes at the Ryder Cup, that's for sure.”