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McIlroy aims to get balance right in US Open defence

The opening major of the year was widely billed as a two-horse race between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

Pre-tournament favourites ended a disappointing week in a tie for 40th place at the US Open.
golf,Rory McIlroy,US Open,US Open golf,Northern Irelands Rory McIlroy,San Franciscos Olympic Club
Sport

LONDON - Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy says that one of the biggest challenges when he defends his US Open title in June at San Francisco's Olympic Club will be to balance his lofty expectations with a level-headed approach.

While McIlroy's astonishing eight-shot victory at Congressional last year marked him out as the heir apparent to Tiger Woods, he readily concedes his mindset could have been more realistic going into the Masters earlier this month.

The opening major of the year was widely billed as a two-horse race between Woods and McIlroy, two of the most exciting players in the game, but the pre-tournament favourites ended a disappointing week in a tie for 40th place.

"Going into majors as a major champion, it definitely heightens your expectation levels a little bit," world number two McIlroy said on a US Open teleconference call on Monday.

"That was something that I didn't control so well at the Masters a few weeks ago. Going back to defend my title in San Francisco will be a great experience for me and something I am really looking forward to.

"You try and approach it like you would any other event, just prepare as best you can and go out there and try to play the golf you know you are capable of."

McIlroy, who at 22 became the US Open's youngest winner since 1923 with his record-breaking victory at Congressional, relished being bracketed with 14-times major champion Woods.

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