Count Rory McIlroy among those getting early look at Shinnecock

Since winning the U.S. Open at Congressional in 2011, Rory McIlroy has missed the cut at the tournament three times, including each of the past two years. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

DUBLIN, Ohio -- When it comes to the U.S. Open, Rory McIlroy is not messing around.

The four-time major champion said Sunday he was headed straight for Eastern Long Island, where he has rented a home for two weeks near Shinnecock Hills, site of the tournament that begins June 14.

"It's better to practice there than it is to practice down in Florida this time of year, it's just soft and rain and humid," he said after a final-round 69 and overall eighth-place finish (tie) at Muirfield Village Golf Club. "So, we head up there tonight, I'm going to play Shinnecock [Monday], and then I'm actually just going to play a few other golf courses around the area the next few days and sort of relax and take it easy up there."

Phil Mickelson is also planning to spend several days at Shinnecock this week after visiting last Tuesday, while Tiger Woods spent part of Memorial Day weekend at the course.

McIlroy will have no shortage of great golf in the Southampton, New York, area if he is so inclined. National Golf Links, Southampton Golf Club, Friar's Head and Maidstone would be among some of the top possibilities.

Since winning the U.S. Open at Congressional in 2011, McIlroy has missed the cut at the tournament three times, including each of the past two years. His best finish is a tie for ninth in 2015 at Chambers Bay.

On Saturday, McIlroy was critical of how the United States Golf Association has handled setting up the course over the years.

"I think the USGA thinks we're better than we actually are, if that makes sense," McIlroy said. "I think they overthink it. I don't want to single out [USGA executive director] Mike Davis here; I think it's a collective thought process.

"I don't think it should be as much of an exact science to set up the golf course as it is. I mean, I get the fairways sort of firm, grow the rough, put the pins in some tough locations. But fair -- and go let us play."

Shinnecock was the site of controversy the last time the U.S. Open was there in 2004, when several greens became too firm and burned out to the point that water had to be applied during various points of the final round.

Retief Goosen won with Phil Mickelson finishing second, the only other player under par for the week.

Mickelson has also been critical of the USGA, especially after what happened 14 years ago; but, so far, he likes what he sees.

"It's a tremendous setup that I've seen,'' Mickelson said. "I think that this year's U.S. Open is the greatest setup going in that I have seen in my 25-whatever years of playing the U.S. Open. It will reward the best player as opposed to having luck be a big element on some of the bounces in the fairway, bounces around the green, and how it comes out of the rough and so forth.''