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McIlroy aims to become top European player of all time

Rory McIlroy remains focused on becoming the most successful European player in history after a "come-to-Jesus" moment transformed his US Open record.

After winning his first major title at Congressional in 2011, McIlroy missed the cut in his title defence and failed to contend in the following three years before suffering a run of three straight early exits.

Since then however, the Northern Irishman has reeled off five straight top 10s, culminating in finishing second just a shot behind Wyndham Clark at Los Angeles Country Club last year.

"I feel like I really struggled at US Open set ups, 2016, '17, ’18 in particular," McIlroy said at Pinehurst, where he finished 23rd the last time the North Carolina venue staged the event.

"I sort of had a bit of a come-to-Jesus moment after that, tried to really figure out why that was. Then my performances from 2019 and after that have been really, really good."

Asked what that revelation was, McIlroy added: "I would say embracing the difficult conditions, embracing the style of golf needed to contend at a US Open, embracing patience.

"Honestly, embracing what I would have called "boring" back in the day.

"Explosiveness isn’t going to win a US Open. It’s more methodically building your score over the course of four days and being okay with that. It’s more of a reframing of a mindset than anything else."

A month after Martin Kaymer’s wire-to-wire victory in 2014, McIlroy also led from start to finish to win the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool and then claimed a second US PGA title three weeks later at Valhalla.

That remains his last major title to date but the 35-year-old has not given up hope of surpassing the achievements of European greats Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, who won five