Rory McIlroy Photo: Jessica Hill/AP

Rory McIlroy and his new wife Erica have embarked on a three-week golfing and sightseeing "road trip" hoping to return to Northern Ireland at the end of it with a second Claret Jug.

The McIlroys took fellow passengers by surprise when they drove onto Monday morning's Belfast to Cairnryan ferry on their way to Scotland.

The newly-weds took to wheels instead of wings after McIlroy promised American-born Erica a trip to England's picturesque Cotswolds region after next week's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale on the north-west coast.

But the first stop for McIlroy is this week's Scottish Open at Dundonald near Irvine in Ayrshire.

It's the first time McIlroy has contested the event since shooting a Royal Aberdeen course-record 64 on day one of the 2014 Scottish Open and a week later heading south to lift the Claret Jug at Hoylake.

"It is nice to have the car and throw everything in the back," he said.

"So, we're actually taking a bit of a road trip after Birkdale as Erica already likes the British landscape.

"After The Open I have a day in London with Nike and we are going to visit the Cotswolds."

Among McIlroy's belongings are a number of different putters, as he tries to iron out the biggest problem area of his game - evidenced by recording 33 putts each day in missing the cut at last week's the Irish Open.

"I need to focus more on my routine and how I approach a putt," admitted McIlroy.

"But I think it's fair to say I'm trying to stay patient but it's proving difficult. 

"It always has been for me. It always has been. Because you know, look, I feel like I am good enough to win these tournaments, and I've shown that before. 

"Yeah, I feel like all I need is, if I can get a little spark this week and see a few putts go in and shoot a couple of good scores, I feel like that will build a lot of confidence and that will ease that impatience a little bit."