Rory McIlroy has defended his controversial preparations for the Open Championship, which has involved him playing no competitive golf since winning the US Open on June 19.

“Some people may have wondered why I chose to go from one Major straight to another without anything in between,” admitted the 22-year-old.

“Because of what happened at Congressional and the way it became such a big deal, I wanted to get everything out of the way and sorted so that when I did start playing again I could just concentrate on golf.”

However, Colin Montgomerie has suggested the break might have the opposite effect: “There will be so many people wanting to congratulate him, wanting to talk to him.

“That’s bloody tiring. Whether it was the French or the Scottish Open he could have got that out of his system, so he could start the Open afresh. By the time he gets to the first tee, I think he will be mentally tired.”

Jack Nicklaus also doubts if McIllroy has got the balance right: “That’s a long break. If he has a disappointing Open then I’m sure people will say it was too long.

“I always felt I needed something in the middle to keep my game in shape. But I never played well in a Major if I had played the week before.”