Rory McIlroy admitted he’s working on a number of things as he mixed four birdies with four bogeys in the opening round of the Open de France at Le Golf National in Paris

McIlroy a work in progress

Rory McIlroy admitted he’s working on a number of things as he mixed four birdies with four bogeys in the opening round of the Open de France at Le Golf National in Paris.

The Ulsterman has spend some time with coach Michael Bannon in recent times and, when asked exactly what he was trying to correct by Sky’s Tim Barter, he responded: “Do you have ten minutes?”

McIlroy is debuting a new grip this week in Paris as he bids to put a disappointing US Open behind him and build confidence ahead of the Open Championship at Troon in two weeks.

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“My right hand is fine, but my left was getting a little bit strong, and I was wondering why the clubface was coming in shut at impact,” he said.

“It’s tough to work on and not something I’ve thought about since the age of about 12. It’s one of those things that you know is going to feel uncomfortable for a while, but it needed to be done.

“Michael and I have done a good bit of work over the last few days and I’m trying to bed some stuff in. It will take a while, but I was encouraged by some of the shots I hit out there today.”

McIlroy also said he’s not paying too much attention to his score while he attempts to implement the changes, which he described as tweaks, rather than anything major.

“Coming off a bad result at the US Open, it’s nice to not really focus on what I’m scoring out there or where I am on the leaderboard. I’m focussing on making sure I get all these little checkpoints right. It takes the pressure off a little bit – you can just go out there and play.

“I didn’t know what to expect after a week of tinkering with my swing. I was joking with my friends at the weekend that I’ve got 17 swing thoughts down to about five, so I’m doing okay! I hope to have that down to about two by next week. I’m just trying to get the swing back to where I know it can be.”

McIlroy is playing in the French Open for the first time since 2010, when he finished one shot out of a play-off. The European Tour’s prioritisation of the event, along with the fact Le Golf National hosts the Ryder Cup in two years, persuaded him to return.

“It’s a great golf course, it’s a tough test, and those last four holes will produce quite a lot of excitement in the Ryder Cup,” he said.