Rory McIlroy insists that he’s started to see the positives as time passes since his US Open disappointment but he admits he got distracted by what Bryson DeChambeau was doing behind him at Pinehurst No 2.

Speaking ahead of his Genesis Scottish Open defence at the Renaissance Club, the four-time major winner explained how he walked alone on the High Line in Manhattan in the days following his runner-up finish and reflected on those missed short putts at the 16th and 18th that ultimately cost him his fifth major win.

“I think the way I’ve described Pinehurst on Sunday was like it was a great day until it wasn’t,” McIlroy said.

“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 (sic) 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.”

He’s suffered many disappointments in his career but he is adamant he will bounce back

“Yeah, it was a tough day,” said the Holywood star, who defended his caddie Harry Diamond and insisted he had no regrets about not speaking to the press after his round.

“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.

“Yeah, there’s learnings in there, too, right. 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.

“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.”

McIlroy didn’t congratulate DeChambeau until the following day when he was in New York coming to terms with what was a bitterly disappointing finish to his round.

“It was okay,” he said. “I went home on Sunday night and actually spent Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday in Manhattan, which was sort of planned anyway. Because obviously I was going to go play the Travelers and ended up not doing that.

“Went to Manhattan, which was nice. It was nice to sort of blend in with the city a little bit. I walked around. I walked the High Line a couple of times.

“I made a few phone calls. Sort of was alone with my thoughts for a couple days, which was good. I had some good chats with people close to me, and as you start to think about not just Sunday at Pinehurst but the whole way throughout the weak, there was a couple of things that I noticed that I wanted to try to work on over the last few weeks coming into here, and obviously next week at Troon.

“They were hard but at the same time, as each day went by, it became easier to focus on the positives and then to think about the future instead of what had just happened.”

Asked what he might do differently, he reflected on taking too long with his pre-shot routine and worrying too much about what others were doing.

But he rejected criticism of his caddie from the likes of Hank Haney and Smyllie Kauffman.

“You know, it’s certainly unfair,” he said. “Hank Haney has never been in that position. Smylie has been in that position once, and I love Smylie, and he was out there with us on 18.

“But just because Harry is not as vocal or loud with his words as other caddies, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t say anything and that he doesn’t do anything.

“I just wish that, you know, these guys that criticise when things don’t go my way, they never say anything good when things do go my way.

“So where were they when I won Dubai earlier year or Quail Hollow or the two FedExCups that I’ve won with Harry or the two Ryder Cups or whatever? They are never there to say Harry did such a great job when I win, but they are always there to criticise when we don’t win.”

The Open represents McIlroy’s last chance to win a major before his winless spell stretches to 10 years.

“Yeah, look, it was a great opportunity,” he said. “It passed me by but hopefully when I get that next opportunity, it won’t pass me by.

“(Next week’s Open) it’s just another opportunity. I’m playing great golf and it’s another opportunity to see how I can hopefully handle it better than I handled it a few weeks ago.”

As for his missed putts on the 16th and 18th at Pinehurst, he had a lot to say.

“I think I hit such a good putt and looked like halfway down the first putt it looked like it could be a birdie, and it ran a foot by where I thought it was going to finish,” he said of the 16th.

“Then I marked it, and yeah then Patrick (Cantlay) was hitting his putt, and he can take his time. Obviously greens are tough. It’s the end of a Sunday at the US Open. Like you have to be really deliberate in what you’re doing.

“I just think I had to wait awhile to hit that second putt. It wasn’t as if — it was just more, you stand there, it’s hard not to either start thinking about the future or notice before Bryson’s ball is in the fairway or that sort of stuff.

“But again, that’s on me to make sure that I’m in the right head space, and I hit a decent — like I hit a decent putt on 16, the green grabbed it. I probably read that just right of center.

“Probably started it a touch left of that. Probably started it straight, maybe a touch left of center, and the green grabbed it and it caught the left edge. Wasn’t a terrible putt, but I definitely felt a little bit of uneasiness before I hit it.”

As for the more difficult putt on the 18th, he said: “Yeah, I just left it on the wrong side of the hole. I got a above the hole.

“Where the hole was cut was on top of the little slope, and ended up pretty dry and crusty around the hole. And the chip shot just ran out a little bit and got past the hole.

“So it was — I hit that putt very, very easy, and obviously just missed on the low side, and it still went a good three or four feet by.

“So I was probably playing it, I don’t know, like two, two, and a half cups left, whatever it was, three-and-a-half-foot putt.

“There was a lot of swing to it, especially with how easy I was hitting it. Like I said, if it was match play and the next one didn’t matter I would have approached the putt differently.

“But knowing that Bryson had hit it left off the tee, I just sort of wanted to make sure that if there was still a chance at a playoff, that it was at least going to be that.”

As for his quick start exit from Pinehurst, he had no regrets about not talking to the press.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “No. There’s nothing that I could have said that was — not that — I mean, it would have been good because you guys would have been able to write something about it or have a few quotes from me.

“No offence; you guys were the least of my worries at that point.”