"I just was trying to figure out a couple things on my own and try to take ownership of what I'm really working on."I worked a lot on routine".
The 36-year-old has recorded five top-10s at the Open and looked all set for victory at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 2012 before bogeying the last four holes to finish second by one shot behind Ernie Els.
The fire is back in those eyes and how can he not feel inspired when, along with is wife and four children, he is staying in a hotel overlooking Prestwick Golf Club, the links where the first Open Championship was played 167 years ago?
The American picked up where he left off in 2015 at the warmup event for the British Open, avoiding trouble and rolling in five birdies at Dundonald Links to shoot a 5-under 67 in the first round.
"Anything that comes my way from here would be a bonus", said Harrington, who has played just nine events in 2017 and underwent surgery on a trapped nerve in his neck in March.
And his form shows no sign of improving after a hard opening day in Troon, the four-time major victor ending Thursday two over par, nine strokes behind leader Ilonen, who carded a blemish-free seven-under 65.
Reigning Open champion Stenson made a horrendous start as he triple-bogeyed his opening hole, but a birdie at his last salvaged a battling 72, while McIlroy declined to speak to reporters after another inconsistent performance.
He is joined by McIlroy's player partner Ian Poulter, Padraig Harrington, Andrew Dodt, Paul Peterson and Callum Shinkwin, while Matt Kuchar eagled the 18th to headline a group of six on four under.
Harrington called his par at No. 16 a "minor miracle", having thought he'd lost his ball off the tee.
Fowler, who won at Gullane in 2015 but did not defend his title past year due to scheduling difficulties, got up and running with a birdie at the 13th - his fourth - and added another at the next before breaking a run of six pars with three consecutive birdies from the third.
Adam Scott swells the regular ranks of Australians on the European Tour this week when he tees up at the Scottish Open as part of his final preparations for The Open Championship.
Just as Scottish golf fans are quick to praise good golf shots, they don't hesitate to criticise what they see as poor play.
It is the third straight round where McIlroy has failed to break par and the four-time major champion is in danger of missing consecutive cuts after his feeble Irish Open title defence last week.
The four-time major victor set the tone at his second hole, the 121-yard 11th, where his tee shot came up short left in a bunker.