Harrington has no fears for McIlroy ahead of Open

Padraig Harrington believes Rory McIlroy will be well prepared

for next week’s British Open even though he hasn’t played since

winning the U.S. Open.

The break will be more than three weeks by the time the

22-year-old Northern Irishman tees it up at the British Open at

Royal St. George’s.

”He’s very familiar with links golf and he will play quite a

bit of links golf in those three weeks at home,” three-time major

winner Harrington said Tuesday. ”In terms of getting used to it,

that shouldn’t be an issue. He doesn’t seem to have any issue in

terms of competitiveness not playing.

”He knows what he’s doing. If you can win by eight shots by not

playing the week before, I’d stick to that routine.”

Former Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie felt it would have

been in McIlroy’s interests to have played at least one event

between the majors.

Sixteen days have passed since McIlroy’s stunning U.S. Open

victory, when he broke several records, and he continues to be the

talk of the tour.

His preparations for the third major of the year have come under

scrutiny, with Montgomerie saying on Monday that McIlroy could find

himself ”mentally tired” dealing with the expected barrage of

back-patting in the days leading up to the British Open.

”There are going to be so many people wanting to congratulate

him. Whether it was (last week’s) French Open or the Scottish Open

(starting Thursday), he could have got that out of his system and

out of the way so he can start the Open afresh,” said Montgomerie,

still looking for his first major title. ”Now he’s got that ahead

of him.”

Harrington acknowledged that McIlroy’s buildup to the tournament

in Sandwich, southeast England, which begins July 14, will be

hectic but said having a major title to his name will help him get

through it.

”There’s always that external stuff building up and it does

make it harder,” said the Irishman, who has fallen to No. 57 since

winning the last of his three majors – the PGA Championship at

Oakland Hills in 2008.

”But the advantage is, if you get through that and you get to

the last nine holes and you are in contention, the fact you have

done it before and you’ve already got one certainly eases the

pressure on you.”

McIlroy plans to visit Royal St. George’s this week.