Rory McIlroy is unfamiliar with Southern Hills, where the 104th PGA Championship tees off on Thursday.
The 33-year-old from Northern Ireland had never seen the par-70 layout before a Monday practice round, but with his game on solid form, he is not worried overly about the course’s challenges.
“Sometimes not knowing where the trouble is, ignorance is bliss in some ways,” the four-time Major winner said on Tuesday.
“For me, I’ll take execution over preparation any day. If you’re executing the shots and you’re hitting the ball well and the ball is going where you’re looking, that’s more than half the battle.
“I feel like I’m executing well.”
McIlroy hasn’t won a Major title since the 2014 PGA Championship, but he managed his best Major finish since with a runner-up effort at last month’s Masters and was fifth at the Wells Fargo two weeks ago.
“I feel good about my game,” McIlroy said. “I’ve done some good work. I’ve led greens in regulation the last two tournaments I’ve played.
“That’s something that hasn’t quite been there and that’s something you need to do, especially around here.
“You hit greens here, you’re going to give yourself birdie chances. I’m feeling pretty good about that part of the game.”
McIlroy talked with golfers who had played Southern Hills, scouted the course online and is studying the set-up during his practice rounds.
“It doesn’t mean you’re not preparing or looking at things. I think these greens require a little more time spent on them than some others,” the world No 7 said. “But I think strategy off the tee and into the greens is pretty simple. It gets a little more nuanced whenever you get on and around the greens.
“I’ve won a couple of Major championships where I’ve played nine holes on Tuesday, nine holes on Wednesday and sort of teed it up and played really well.”
McIlroy has made a point of getting back to the basics of his game and not overthinking matters.
“You’re not going to practise from every bunker around the greens. You’re not going to chip balls from every single side of a green,” McIlroy said. “You have a general idea of where the good miss is or where to leave it. You just can’t miss the ball above the hole here because the greens are slopy and there’s quite a pitch from back to front on a lot of them.”
Part of McIlroy’s success has been how well he adapts when trouble arrives.
“You’re going to encounter some stuff during the four days of play that you haven’t prepared for. Things happen. We’re human. We’re not going to hit every shot perfectly,” he said.
“But that’s the great thing about our game. You have to adapt to these things and adapt to conditions. We’re going to have nearly four different winds for four days. So, you’re just going to have to sometimes adapt on the fly.”
© Agence France-Presse