|Venue: St Andrews, Scotland Dates: 14-17 July|
|Coverage: BBC TV, radio and online, on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Sounds, BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport mobile app. Full coverage details.|
Rory McIlroy says he intends to play “boring” golf to achieve the “Holy Grail” of winning the Open Championship over St Andrews’ Old Course.
The Northern Irishman, 33, won the 2014 Open and the US PGA Championship a month later, but has not added to his haul of four major titles since then.
“You don’t have to do anything special,” he told BBC Northern Ireland.
“You just have to play sort of boring golf, but if I can do that for four days then I’ll have a good chance.”
McIlroy arrives on the Fife coast as the world number two, having won twice on the PGA Tour season – and with top-10 finishes in each of this year’s preceding three majors.
He shot a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to climb to second in April’s Masters – the only major he is yet to win – before finishing eighth and joint fifth at the US PGA Championship and US Open.
In fact, McIlroy has ended up in the top 10 in at least two majors in six of those seven other fallow years – although many have come with strong finishes after being effectively out of contention to win.
“The last two majors, there are lots of positives to take from them,” he added. “Things could have been very different at both of those. I don’t need to do anything differently, it’s about being smart.”
McIlroy missed the chance to defend his title at St Andrews in 2015 after injuring his foot while playing football, but overall has “great memories” of the place.
He shot a nine-under-par 63 to lead after round one when The Open was played over the Old Course in 2010. But his challenge was blown off the course in the second round where gales hampered the players out later in the day and he carded an 80 before recovering over the weekend to finish joint third.
“St Andrews is a golf course where you think you can go shoot 66 every time you play it,” said McIlroy.
“I know better than that and you can’t get too greedy. Be smart with your second shots, don’t take on too much and if you do that there’s always going to be chances.
“Tiger Woods, in 2000, missed every single bunker for four days [on his way to winning by eight shots]. It’s not about hitting amazing recovery shots or holing 60-footers, it’s about putting your ball in the right place time after time.”
‘One of the greatest things you can do in our game’
Three-time Open champion Bobby Jones famously said a player’s career would not be complete without winning the Claret Jug in the Fife town.
The American amateur triumphed on the Old Course in 1927 and was later awarded the freedom of St Andrews – an honour bestowed on Tuesday upon Jack Nicklaus, who won two of his three Opens at the fabled venue.
And while McIlroy is not sure you need to win at St Andrews to guarantee greatness, he is aware of the significance of success in the oldest major at the recognised home of golf.
“It’s the Holy Grail of our sport,” McIlroy said. “Not a lot of people are going to get that opportunity to achieve that, but that’s what winning an Open at St Andrews is. It’s one of the highest achievements that you can have in golf.
“There’s a lot of great players that have won Opens and maybe not won Opens at St Andrews, so I think it’s unfair to say that a golfer’s career isn’t complete without that. But it’s certainly up there with one of the greatest things you can do in our game.”