The Open, Rory McIlroy is confident of competing well at Royal Lytham. July 18 2012

World number two Rory McIlroy is confident he will be able to compete with the best at Royal Lytham and St Annes golf course, his practice rounds have gone well and he is buoyant after a tenth place finish at the Irish Open last time out. Rory McIlroy  (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy (Getty Images)

"Preparation has gone well. I played the course Thursday and Friday last week, got two really good looks at it. Went back out Monday and played 18 holes, so I’ve got a few good looks at the place and feel like I know what I'm doing out there now. I'm excited to get started. It will just be nice to get going on Thursday, because I feel like I've been waiting for it for almost a week now. I feel like I'm hitting the ball great. I think it's the best I've swung the club all year and I've done a lot of work on that. It's a case of keeping the ball in play, keeping it out of the bunkers and out of the rough. Not only if I can do that, but if anyone can do that in this field, they've got a great chance."

With precision from the tee going  to be a key factor, Rory acknowledges he may have to rein in his aggressive instincts at times to try and avoid the 206 bunkers on the course.

" The thing I like about this course is that it gives you a lot of definition. You have targets to hit at and you've got targets to work it off, and it's one of the great things about this course. I think it's just knowing the times when to be aggressive and when not to be. With the way the conditions are at the minute with the greens being slightly softer, there are more chances out there to be aggressive. You're going to have to be very smart off the tees here and plot your way around, just to navigate your way through all these fairway bunkers. If you can do that and put your ball in the fairway, you do have chances to be aggressive going into some of the greens." blog_fowler_0718.jpg

Rickie Fowler /Getty Images

Someone else from the younger group Rickie Fowler also likes playing on Links courses. Rickie was in a tie for 5th place at Royal St. George's last year, which was one of only two top-five finishes for him in 2011. The year before, 2010, he finished in a tie for 14th spot at St. Andrews, this was despite shooting a 79 in his first-ever Open round. Rickie said on Wednesday; " I love links golf, probably my favorite, I just like the amount of options you have while out playing a links golf course." Rickie is also spurred on by the fact that the last three Major's have been won by Americans, young ones at that; " It's been a lot of fun to watch, but also just kind of a kick in the butt to get out and make me want it more. It is fun to watch them win and watch some of your good friends win, but at the same time you'd rather be there than them."