Who are the dangers for the McIlroy fairy tale in Portrush?

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The Open 2019: & # 39; It & # 39; s spectacular, unbelievable & # 39; – McIlroy on Royal Portrush

Rory McIlroy prepares to tap in the biggest golf tournament of his life – the first major he will play in his native Northern Ireland.

The return of the Open at Royal Portrush, for the first time since 1951, should guarantee that the 148th edition of the oldest and most respected sport championship is one of the most memorable in its history.

It may be pure coincidence, but the fact that it is being organized in a year ending with a nine feeds optimism, this will be an iconic week for the game.

Anniversaries abound; it's 50 years since Tony Jacklin & # 39; s milestone played triumph in Lytham and 40 because Seve Ballesteros claimed his first Open on the same course.

Twenty years ago, Paul Lawrie benefited from the disastrous collapse of Jean van de Velde at Carnoustie and it is 10 because a 59-year-old Tom Watson ended up in Turnberry within an eight-meter victory

So history suggests that something special will happen this week in County Antrim as the Open ventures outside of Scotland or England for just the second time.

As we discovered in a special edition of The BBC golf podcast, the anticipation has reached a feverish point at the home of the Dunluce Links that is organizing this week's tournament.

The people of Northern Ireland cannot wait to be the center of the sports world.

They were thirsty for the prospect of Tiger Woods competing there for the first time and hosting the best players in the world on one of their best jobs

These spectacular connections on the north coast have been renovated and expanded during its search to convince the R & A of its dignity for the Open rota.

And nothing would better cover the return of the hood than a victory for the best golfer that Northern Ireland has ever produced. Where is McIlroy better able to end a five-year run and add a fifth major to his resume?

"I certainly had exciting periods when I played well and won," McIlroy told BBC Sport.

But has he encountered such excitement before any other tournament?

"As an event with a lot of anticipation, probably not, I thought about that for a long time.

" I never thought I could play an Open Championship at home. It has been 68 years since Portrush organized the Open.

"I treat it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I will try to make the best of it."

This is the race in which, as a 16-year-old, McIlroy shattered the race record with a 61 in the Northern Ireland Championship. It was a round that confirmed his potential as one of the best players in the world.

But it does not guarantee a fairytale victory this week. He has to fight against a considerably changed layout, a field with the very best players and inner demons who apparently stopped him in recent majors.

When it reached historical moments, McIlroy was found sober. He has faded from battle in all five Masters he played while looking for the victory that would complete the Grand Slam career.

He has indeed won none of the big ones since claiming his second US PGA Championship title in Valhalla in 2014. And although his form has been solid this year, with two wins and 11 top 10 & # 39; s, he has not threatened to add to his most important count.

The new calendar means failure this week would make this is a fifth consecutive year without climbing the golfing ladder. With the PGA in its new May date, The Open is the last major of the men's season.

So McIlroy must find his best wave when he needs it the most and while taking the most intense mockery of his career. He needs a kind of draw, inspired golf and to use the immense support that he will inevitably wear at Royal Portrush.

As with any major, there is no shortage of potential winners. Woods arrives as the Masters champion, but the damp weather forecast won't encourage him.

The 43-year-old woke up at 1 am at home in Florida to prepare for the five-hour time difference but who knows how his awkward back will react if it doesn't feel the heat of warm sunshine?

This will be Woods & # 39; first competitive wave since last month's US Open at Pebble Beach. Defending champion Francesco Molinari also seems to be underrun, because he has only played once since that big one.

Tiger Woods won the Open in 2000, for back-to-back successes in 2005 and 2006.

Brooks Koepka seems a much better bet. The big-hitting American has won four of his past nine majors and has not been in the top two in his last four, including his two PGA triumphs.

Furthermore, he has a resident of Portrush by his side. Caddy Ricky Elliott, a great player in his own right, is a contemporary of one of the other great wave sons of the city – Graeme McDowell.

On the current form, if this is an Open written in the stars, the greatest probability is that they spell KOEPKA – with ELLIOTT in parentheses – than any other name.

But taking into account form and confidence, we must also consider the odds of Jon Rahm, the Spaniard who won his second Irish Open at Lahinch the previous week.

Of the two consecutive events in the European Tour, the Irish seemed more relevant. They were real links set up with Portrush in mind, and Rahm loved it with his tournament-winning 62.

A Spanish victory 40 years after Sve & # 39; s breakthrough moon? That would fit quite well, although not as relevant as a return from Rory to great success at home.

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