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open countdown 'I don't like the tag' - Rory McIlroy hits back at a label that he sees as a dig at his professionalism

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Rory McIlroy is aiming to win his second Open Championship. Handout/R&A/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy is aiming to win his second Open Championship. Handout/R&A/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy is aiming to win his second Open Championship. Handout/R&A/PA Wire.

Rory McIlroy admits claims that he is the most talented player in the game annoy him, as he suggested it implies he does not need to work hard to succeed.

Speaking at a Sky Q event to promote the new GolfPass channel that is now available to subscribers in Ireland, McIlroy insisted his work ethic can never be questioned as he prepares to tee off in this season's Open Championship at Royal St George's.

"I don't like the talented tag because it suggests if you are naturally talented you don't work hard or practice," said the former world No.1, who will play for Ireland at the Olympics.

"All talent is the hard work you have put in over the years. There is no-one in the world of golf who has hit more golf balls than I have, or who have hit more golf balls than I have.

"I've been playing golf since I was two years old so the naturally-talented thing irks me as it gives off the impression I am lazy and don't work as hard, which is obviously not the case at all.

"I get where people are coming from but there is a lot more to it than natural ability and talent and everyone out here will tell you the same thing."

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Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke during a practice round ahead of the Open Championship at Royal St George's. REUTERS/Paul Childs

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke during a practice round ahead of the Open Championship at Royal St George's. REUTERS/Paul Childs

Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke during a practice round ahead of the Open Championship at Royal St George's. REUTERS/Paul Childs

McIlroy insisted his recent poor form is not a concern as he prepares to win his first major championship in seven years.

"When you are playing badly it is never as far away as you think it is and when you are playing well you are never that far away from playing badly again," he stated.

"There are such fine lines in the game. Just when you think you have figured it all out it knocks you back a bit and whenever you feel you are lost you get a spark and off you go again.

"It's a very fickle game, that's the nature of it unfortunately, and everyone who has played the game at a high level knows that.

"You just need to try to make the highs and lows..... you don't want the lows to be too low but you don't want to get too above yourself or get too high or too filled with expectation because that is no good either.

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"Being on a pretty even keel in this game is always going to stand you in good stead."

McIlroy also backed calls for The Open to be taken to the Portmarnock Golf Club, with a recent vote that finally allows women to become members of the north county Dublin club paving the way for a possible push to have the British major played in southern Ireland.

"If the Open went to Portmarnock that would be awesome," added McIlroy.

"The R&A have had the Amateur there a few weeks ago. Jeez, the venue, the golf course, the proximity to Dublin, the proximity to the airport, it would be a wonderful Open venue but a lot of things would have to happen to make that happen but I'd certainly be on board for that if that was the case."

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GolfPass on Sky Q

GolfPass on Sky Q

GolfPass on Sky Q

Rory McIlroy was speaking as he promoted the launch of GolfPass on Sky Q, which is available in Ireland now.

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