As the 36-year-old Dougherty entered, he met the 82-year-old Gary Player coming out.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur on his Open debut in 2007, the last time the championship was held at Carnousite. "I feel a bit more comfortable on this stage than I have in previous years, which is nice".
One of those missed cuts came at last month's US Open and the world number six said: "I got very technical and into making everything ideal".
American superstar Tiger Woods returns to The Open after three years saying said on Tuesday that it is his best long-term chance to add to his 14 Major victories. He admits could benefit from trying to approach this tournament in a similar care-free manner.
"You don't have to be long to play at a links course", said the 42-year-old, whose swing speed is still among the fastest on tour, despite his creeping age and major back surgeries.
"When I looked in the mirror back then, I didn't think it was as big as it was, " McIlroy said.
McIlroy, who won at Hoylake in 2014, feels he has been close enough to mount a challenge in recent Opens but has fallen short on the final day.
England win the toss and opt to bowl
The hosts though found a way to tackle the wrist-spin threat and come up with clinical performances in Lord's and Leeds . And that made the comprehensive manner of their victory all the more satisfying for Morgan's men.
Good judges will tell you it will be his first of many starts on golf's biggest stage.
Adam Scott would be the fairytale victor this week, having come so close so many times including 2012 when his four, consecutive bogeys to close at Royal Lytham saw him throw away a title that was his, gifting the win to Ernie Els. "I like all of them". "(I) just need to lay some cleaner golf, and who knows?"
"There's not going to be one player in this field that has a game plan on Wednesday night and is going to stick to that game plan the whole way around for 72 holes, " McIlroy said. He missed the tournament in 2008 and 2011 and again in each of the past two years due to back problems. "Distance becomes a moot point".
"It's just not going to happen with wind conditions and pin placements". That's just going to come with a little bit more experience and I think that I've made a few adjustments.
Fleetwood holds the course record at Carnoustie, going round in 63 a year ago at the Alfred Dunhill links championship. "You can never hit them on the green from them". "It's going to be really interesting to see how it all plays out".
On Sunday, Woods played the par-4 fourth hole by hitting a 7-iron off the tee to avoid well-positioned bunkers. And there's something about links golf that inspires him.