Rory McIlroy is struggling ahead of the Open but has checked into Royal Birkdale early
McIlroy made it three missed cuts in his last four events this weekend at the Scottish Open when he shot 74 and 71 to miss out by one stroke.
But the Northern Irishman, 28, is determined to be in form for the penultimate major of the season.
The world number four has been dogged by form and fitness issues this year and in an attempt to make the most of a difficult situation, however, has used his unplanned free weekend to travel to the Southport links early for extra practice.
"Look, I'd still like to be up in Scotland playing, of course, but if it gives me a couple of extra days to learn this golf course then I don't really mind,” he said.
"I am excited. It is the Open championship, one of the biggest events of the year. I feel like my game is not far away. I feel like over the next few days I can get a bit of work in and be ready to go on Thursday."
Rory McIlroy in practise on the 14th at Royal Birkdale Golf Coure
Rory McIlroy has missed three of his last four cuts
The Open has brought the best out of McIlroy in the past, most obviously the last time the event was held on Merseyside three years ago, when he won by two strokes at Royal Liverpool.
He said: "To get the win in 2014 and get my name on the Claret Jug was a huge step in my career, and a huge step in me feeling a complete player.
"It was the third leg of the grand slam – I'm still waiting for the fourth one – but I love the Open, I love the fans.
"I love that it's Sunday and there are a few people following me already. It's always a week I look forward to."
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McIlroy's game has been hampered by rib and back problems this year. He is now playing pain-free, but admits his issues are not fully resolved.
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He said: "I am feeling okay, but it is something I am going to have to manage until the end of the year.
"It is good enough to play, it is good enough to practise a little bit. I hit balls for an hour-and-a-half last night, but then felt stiff and said, 'That's enough'. But at least I know when enough is.
"I am just going to manage the load for the rest of the season, then I am just going to have a nice rest period when I don't have to touch a club and let it and heal. Then hopefully I'll be 100 per cent for next year.
"It's not as if I'm far off now, but it is just something I have to be mindful of for now."