The first Open to be held in Northern Ireland for 68 years is a sell-out with McIlroy the hottest ticket at the course where he shot an astonishing record 61 as a 16-year-old.
But 13 years on, he will be donning the blinkers as he tries to end a Major drought which stretches back to 2014.
“I want to win for me,” said McIlroy. “It’s not about trying to do something in front of friends and family.
“You have to realise that, as much as you want to win for other people and for a lot of other different things, the number one thing is you want to win for yourself.
“It took me a few years playing Irish Opens to realise that. Golf is a selfish sport.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to win an Open Championship before and I’d dearly love to win another one.
“I haven’t tried to hide that fact that playing a Major Championship basically at home is going to be a massive week for golf, for the country, and for me personally.
“I didn’t know if I’d ever have an opportunity to do that. I have to go out there with a good mindset and obviously not let the occasion get the better of me and hopefully produce some good golf and give myself a chance.
“I think it obviously will make it more special if I could win at Portrush but I just have to treat it like every other Open Championship that I’ve played the last few years and my record in The Open the last few years has been better than pretty much any other tournament I’ve played.”
McIlroy, who recorded his second top ten Major finish of the season at the US Open last week, will skip the Irish Open in a fortnight’s time and tune up instead for the tournament at the Scottish Open the week beforehand.
Rory McIlroy is the founder of Golfpass, the NBC Sports digital membership programme which launched yesterday in the UK and Ireland.