Harrington has no fears for McIlroy ahead of Open

Padraig Harrington believes any fears that Rory McIlroy is

heading into next week’s British Open undercooked will prove to be

misguided.

McIlroy hasn’t played a tournament since his record eight-shot

victory at the U.S. Open at Congressional last month for his first

major title.

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

22-year-old Northern Irishman lines up at the British Open at Royal

St. George’s.

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 but Harrington disagrees.

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

bit of links golf in those three weeks at home,” said Harrington,

a three-time major winner and Ryder Cup teammate of McIlroy’s, on

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.”

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

victory, when he smashed a host of records in the process, 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” as he deals with the expected torrent of

back-patting in the days leading up to the start of the 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,

who has famously never won a 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 on 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 plummeted to No. 57

since winning the last of his three majors – the U.S. 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.