One week after admitting his game is ‘a long way off’ where he wants it to be, Rory McIlroy has insisted he is close to a return to form.

Speaking ahead of his title defence at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last week, the 28-year-old claimed he was not trying to overthink his poor form and was nowhere near his best.

See exactly what McIlroy had to say about his barren spell last week in full, here.

However, as The Open Championship approaches next week, McIlroy sounded much more positive ahead of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open:

“It’s hard to sit up here and stand in front of a camera every single time and say to you guys it’s close because I sound a bit like a broken record after a few weeks. But really, it’s not far away,” the Northern-Irishman said.

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“I’m positive about it. I’m excited about my game. I feel like I’m doing a lot of good things and it’s just about putting it all together. Not just for one day but for four days, and not just for four days, to do it week-in and week-out.”

Hampered by injuries, he’s only managed nine starts in 2017 but the form is still far below standard. The 21-time career-winner is without a victory since last September, his biggest drought since 2013, and he’s finding it hard to accept the lack of success given his glittered career to date.

“It’s fair to say I’m trying to stay patient but it’s proving difficult. It always has been for me. I feel like I am good enough to win these tournaments and I’ve shown that before,” he added.

“I feel like I’m playing catch-up a little bit this year. I’ve got a lot of tournaments coming up through the summer and into sort of September, October time as well.”

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Despite his testing year and search for the game that saw him win four majors by the age of 25, McIlroy is remaining optimistic that he can turn this season into another positive one.

“Last year I missed the cut at the US Open and I missed the cut at the PGA, but I won two FedEx Cup tournaments at the end of the year and I won the FedEx Cup. Still plenty of time to salvage the season.

“But I’d rather see that happen sooner rather than later.”

The next chance for McIlroy to upturn his form presents itself at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, a tournament he hasn’t won before, as he embarks on his final tournament preparation before The Open.