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May 27, 2015

Rory McIlroy


MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Rory, I was going to welcome you, but I suppose you should welcome us to your tournament.
RORY McILROY:  Yes, welcome.
MICHAEL GIBBONS:  Thoughts on the week ahead, you've talked a lot about it but it's finally here.  You must be looking forward to it.
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, very excited for the week to start.  There's been a lot of hard work and planning and time involved in putting this event together.  I didn't quite know what putting a golf tournament together entailed until I got involved, but there's a lot of people behind the scenes putting everything together.  My name is in front of it, but it's down to a lot more people than just me.
Yeah, looking forward to me.  It's great that we have assembled such a great field on a world class golf course.  You know, with everyone here, there's a lot of buzz, there's a lot of talk about the tournament and at the same time, we are going to help a lot of people because of this tournament, as well.  So we are going to achieve a lot of good things this week.  Hopefully I can get all the people out there that followed me on the range something to cheer about with some good golf.
Yeah, I'm really looking forward to the week and really looking forward to getting started tomorrow.

Q.  I believe last night went very well at the Daisy Lodge, you must be pleased with how the week started there and the Pro‑Am today?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, it did.  It started really well.  I think everyone enjoyed going and seeing Daisy Lodge.  I know a lot of people that there were for the first time were blown away by just how good a facility it is.  So it was great that we were able to host a lot of the people that came from overseas there and really just give them an idea of the great work that the cancer fund do.
So it was great to have them there and it was great to have Rickie and Sergio on stage give a bit of a Q&A, and had Riverdance there, as well, for everyone.  It was a very nice way to start the week.

Q.  Apart from winning, what are you hoping to get out of this week?
RORY McILROY:  You know, The Irish Open for me for the last few years was becoming a bit of a‑‑ I don't want to say a pain, but I didn't quite‑‑ it didn't quite fit in the schedule or I just wasn't enjoying it as much as I could.  And then The European Tour approached us about getting involved, and we thought it was a perfect way to really kick‑start the foundation and really start to help other people because of who I am and what I do.
So honestly, what I want to get out of it this year is just to raise a lot of money for the foundation for the cancer fund, and ultimately if I play well, and if I do well in the tournament, then all the money that I earn is going to go towards that, as well.  So I'm not really playing for myself this week.  I'm playing for a lot of other people and it gives me an incentive to go out there and enjoy it and try to play well.

Q.  And just finally, I believe your playing partners may be a bit late today; how did it go out there?
RORY McILROY:  They teed off‑‑ we teed off a little bit later.  It was good.  We had a good time out there and the guys that I played with paid a lot of money and donated a lot of money to charity to play with me today.  I was very appreciative of that.  I made sure that they had a good time out there.

Q.  What was it like when you pitched Ricoh on the idea for the first time to come over and play in this event?  What was his reaction to it, when was the time line, and what's the competitive vibe like between the two of you?  You've battled a bunch of tournament to this point in your young careers.
RORY McILROY:  Honestly, it wasn't that hard a pitch to make to Rickie.  I knew what a fan he was of the golf course.  We played against each other at the Walker Cup here and Rickie is a great guy.  You see all the other stuff he does, as well.  It looks like it's very hard for him to say no.
And I wanted Rickie to play here just because of the history that we had here.  It's great to have him here.  I was very pleased that Rickie and Sergio were in the playoff at The Players a couple weeks ago; creates more buzz about this tournament, and it was great to see him win.
The two previous yours tournaments Rickie had won as a professional before the players, I finished runner‑up in both of them.  He beat me in playoff at Quail Hollow and he beat me by six or seven in Korea a couple years ago.
Yeah, there's a lot of young guys out there now and we're sort of pushing each other.  But Rickie really stepped it up there at THE PLAYERS and was a really impressive performance.  Just great to have him here this week.

Q.  I was just wondering, how proud does it make you feel as a Northern Irishman to have these golfing greats playing here on this course and in your country in general?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, it does.  It makes me proud that we can get some of the best players in the world and on one of the best golf courses in the world and showcase just what a great country this is.  And you can even say today, it's a Wednesday Pro‑Am and the weather isn't too good and you still have thousands and thousands of people out there supporting.  It's absolutely phenomenal.
To be able to bring these guys here and show them how good a place it is, it makes me very proud to be where I'm from.

Q.  Obviously you want to challenge for every tournament you play in, didn't happen last week, but do you feel refreshed now that you had a couple of days off?
RORY McILROY:  I do.  I wanted to play well last week but I think at the same time having the weekend off will benefit me for this week.  I do feel refreshed.  I didn't get out of bed until one o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday.  I came here on Sunday and played a quiet 18 holes.  I came back on Monday morning and played.
I feel very prepared.  That was my third practice round.  I haven't played three practice rounds for a tournament since the Masters.  I really just want to do well this week and it's given me a bit of extra time which I think I can use.

Q.  Do you notice since you've physically got fitter that it is easier to recover when you are fatigued?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, honestly, I don't feel like there's any‑‑ even if you play four or five weeks in a row, physically, you feel fine.  It's more just the mental challenge of trying to keep it at that high level the whole time.  I think that's more the challenge, and sometimes you just need to let yourself come down for a few days.  That's what sort of happened.  I just couldn't really keep it going.  But physically I feel fine.  We're walking around 18 holes and it's not too strenuous on the body.

Q.  Colm McLoughlin of Dubai Duty Free said that you approached them about getting involved at the Dubai OMEGA Desert Classic and that your charity hosting this event was a major influence on them deciding to get involved.  Why did you approach them and what does it mean to have them on board for it?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I guess I have a long‑standing history with Dubai and my first sponsors, Jumeirah, were from there.  I've gotten to know Colm very well over the years just by playing in the tournaments.
I went to the Irish Darby last year, and Dubai Duty Free were sponsoring that.  I just that it would be, if they wanted to get involved in something else here, it was a good opportunity and sort of pitched it to them like that.  Obviously with the foundation being involved, I think it aligns very closely with what they are trying to do with their charitable foundation.  It just seemed like a good fit.
I have a good relationship with Colm.  And the deal honestly, it was done over a point with my caddie, JP, to be honest, and that was sort of‑‑ that was it.  Really appreciative of Dubai Duty Free getting involved, and you know, it's bumped the prides fund up to 2.5 million Euros and couldn't be happier with them getting on board.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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