Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy hasn't played since the U.S. Open Image Credit: USGA

Rory McIlory is hoping to put last month’s U.S. Open heartbreak to ‘good use’ as the Northern Irishman gets set for his first start since the third Major Championship of the season at this week’s Scottish Open.

Poised to end a decade long Major drought, McIlroy collapsed at the finish at Pinehurst No.2 with bogeys on three of his final four holes, including a heart-breaker at the 18th where he missed from inside four feet.

At the same time, playing in the final pair, Bryson DeChambeau sent his tee shot into the rough but held his nerve with a brilliant up and down to save par for a final round one-over 71.

That was good enough to earn the LIV star a second Major and deny McIlroy, who was captured on camera looking distraught as he watched DeChambeau seal the title.

Shortly after the tournament, the 35-year-old announced he would "take a few weeks away" from golf after enduring what he described as the toughest day of his career in the final round.

That mini-hiatus from the game will come to an end tomorrow when he gets set for his title defence at the Scottish Open, which is co-sanctioned by the PGA and DP World Tour.

“I think the way I've described Pinehurst on Sunday was like it was a great day until it wasn't,” said McIlroy in his pre-tournament press conference.

“I did things on that Sunday that I haven't been able to do in the last couple years. Took control of the golf tournament. Held putts when I needed to. Well, mostly when I needed to. Made birdies. You know, really got myself in there. And then, look, obviously unfortunately to miss those last two putts, or the putt on 16 and obviously the putt on 18.

“Yeah, it was a tough day. It was a tough few days after that, obviously. But I think as you get further away from it happening, you start to see the positives and you start to see all the good things that you did throughout the week.”

With the way Pinehurst No.2 is routed, golfers are far more aware of what the groups around them are doing compared to other prestigious properties across the globe.

With tension at an all-time high coming down the back nine, neck-and-neck with DeChambeau, McIlroy revealed that awareness of what his challenger was doing took him out of his ‘own little world’.

“There are learnings in there, too,” he added.

“I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16, and you know, the putt on the last, it was a really tricky putt. And I was very aware of where Bryson was off the tee. I knew I had to hit it really soft. If the one back didn't matter, I would have hit it firmer.

Sport - Golf - Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy won the Scottish Open last year Image Credit: Supplied

“But because I was sort of in two minds, I didn't know whether Bryson was going to make a par or not, it was one of those ones where I had to make sure that if the putt didn't go in, that it wasn't going ten feet by which it very easily could have.

“Thinking back, yeah, maybe I was a little too aware of where Bryson was and what he was doing but it was the nature of the golf course and how the golf course flowed. After the 14th tee, you're sort of looking at 13 green, and then I had to wait on my tee shot on 15 before he hit, or you know, to let him hit his second shot into 14.

“Just the way the course flowed, it just made me very aware of what he was doing at the same time. So, it sort of got me out of my own little world a little bit.

“But no, I mean, when I look back on that day, just like I look back on some of my toughest moments in my career, I'll learn a lot from it and I'll hopefully put that to good use.

“It's something that's been a bit of a theme throughout my career. I've been able to take those tough moments and turn them into great things not very long after that.”

After the Scottish Open, McIlory will head to Royal Troon to tee it up at The Open Championship.

The final Major Championship of the season offers the four-time Major winner an immediate shot at redemption as he looks to end that miserable 10-year trophy drought in the game’s four biggest competitions.

With everything that he has learned from last month’s heartbreak at the U.S. Open, would he do anything differently if he was to find himself in the same position on the back nine on Sunday at Royal Troon?

“Well, that's the thing, not a whole lot different,” he said.

“As I said, it was a great day until it wasn't. I think I touched on it a little bit. I think if anything, I'd say my pre-shot routine got a little bit long. Started to look at the target a few more times over the ball.

“And then, you know, as I said, like being very aware of what maybe some others were doing on the golf course and not really staying in my own little world for the whole 18 holes.

“But really, apart from that, there's not a lot I would do differently.”

While the conclusion of The Open Championship brings Major Championship season to an end, there is an additional ‘major’ tournament on the schedule this year – the Olympic Games.

McIlroy will represent Ireland along with Shane Lowry at Le Golf National, with the former hoping to get hands on a medal after narrowly missing out on Bronze in a seven-man play-off at the last edition in Tokyo.

The 60-man field, which includes World No.1 Scottie Scheffler and defending champion Xander Schauffele, will tee it up in Paris from August 1-4.