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2019 Open Championship: McIlroy and great expectations at his first major in the hometown

2019 Open Championship: McIlroy and great expectations at his first major in the hometown

The Open 2019 is the first major tournament to take place in Northern Ireland, since McIlroy is a professional.

"I had good memories at the Royal Portrush, where I played well and won," McIlroy told the BBC. "But I never thought I could attend The Open at home. I was used to attending the tournament at St Andrews, Muirfield or elsewhere. 68 years since the last time Royal Portrush organized this prestigious tournament. I consider it an opportunity only once in my life and will try to show my best".

For the first time since 1951, The Open returned to Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland. The 148th tournament was as promising as the festival, with the first appearance of Tiger Woods and many other golfers in the world.

But nothing is more wonderful with homeowners fans, if the champion has Northern Ireland nationality. There's no better place than the Royal Portrush for Rory McIlroy to end five years without winning a major.

Along with two compatriots and former major champion Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, McIlroy played an important role in the effort to bring The Open back to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

"I will enjoy every moment", McIlroy said. "The expectation for me is huge, but I'm happy to be the centerpiece and the champion candidate. See what will come. I kept on imagining owning the last trick and champion. If that happens, it's hard for me to prevent happy tears".

McIlroy set a record of 61 strokes at the Royal Portrush at the age of 16, in the Northern Ireland Championship. It was the round that brought him from a young golfer to reach out into one of the brightest stars in the world with four major championships.

But there is no guarantee that the fairy tale will be re-appeared at Royal Portrush this week. At The Open, McIlroy's opponents will be the world's top golfers, who have prevented him from reaching the major championship in the past five years.

McIlroy often does not play well when receiving too many expectations. He failed in the last five Masters, the major that fans always wanted to win the 30-year-old golfer to complete the "Grand Slam career".

McIlroy did not win any major title after the second title at the PGA Championship in Vahalla in 2014. This year, Northern Ireland golfer is in high form with two PGA Tour championships and 11 top 10 draws. The system's new tournament schedule means that without being crowned at The Open, McIlroy will surely have a solid fifth year in major.

The Open takes place at Royal Portrush, Northern Ireland from July 18-21.