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January 24, 2016

Rory McIlroy

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Q. What's the overall reflection on this week?
RORY McILROY: I guess what might have been, in way. I played a very, very average 18 holes. Just sort of I guess the back nine of the second round and the front nine of the third round -- or the back nine of the second -- front nine -- yeah, I guess whatever it was, there was an 18-hole stretch where I played maybe 1-over par. In a tournament like this, you just can't do that.

So I sort of gave myself a lot of work to do going into the last 18 holes, and yeah, just didn't quite have it today. 68 I think is the best I could have done out there with the places I hit it. I don't think I hit a shot off the fairway until the ninth hole this afternoon, so if you're putting yourself out of position like that, it's going to be very hard to score around here.

Thankfully I gave myself a few more opportunities on the back nine and was able to convert some and finish with a nice eagle. But yeah, it looks like it will be another second place here.

Q. You're teeing up in Dubai in a couple weeks. How much confidence can you still take how you finished that round of golf there?
RORY McILROY: I can take a lot of confidence from it knowing that when I needed to play the shots, I knew the worst I could do on 18 was an eagle and see what happens. To hit two golf shots like that into that green, where it does give me a lot of confidence, especially going to the Emirates where I've won a couple of times before. It's been a good week overall. Isn't quite the result I wanted obviously but a lot of positives to take from it.

Q. What is your verdict on another very high-profile finish but not quite what you wanted?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, not quite what I wanted. Seems like this could be the tournament that I just can't quite master. But it's been good. I've played a lot of good golf here at this golf course in Abu Dhabi.

I was just saying there, there was a stretch of 18 holes sort of in the middle of the golf tournament, I think I played them in 1-over par, and you just can't do that. I wasted a lot of opportunities out there this week and so it really is a story of what could have been. But still a good finish and a lot of good golf in there. So plenty of positives to take away.

Q. And I take it, still into the back nine there, you feel that if you can get on a run there, is a chance?
RORY McILROY: There is. There was. I needed to do something. I didn't hit a fairway until the ninth hole. Wasn't giving myself many chances, just to be 1-over par after nine there was a pretty good effort.

Something just sort of clicked for me in the back nine. There was a couple long putts, a chip, an eagle at the last that got me a little closer to the lead, but as I said, I left myself just a bit too much to do after that front nine.

Q. Work to come but a nice foundation with Dubai just around the corner, isn't it?
RORY McILROY: It is, definitely, it's a great way to start the season. It's going to be probably my fifth second-place finish here in the last six years. I've started every year the same and some have worked out better than others, but it's not a bad way to start the season.

Q. Looks like it's going to be near yet so far.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I really just left myself too much to do, with the back nine that I played in the third round and then the front nine that I played in the final round here this afternoon. I think I played those holes in 1-over par, which you can't do.

So if I had to take anything back from this week, it would have been that stretch of holes where I just didn't quite have anything going my way, and as I said, just left myself too much to do with nine holes to go.

Q. Anything in particular that needs to be fixed was it a bit of putting again?
RORY McILROY: Putting felt okay. It was more, I've always struggled with the greens here. I've always struggled to read them. I felt like it was a bit better this week but still missed a lot of opportunities.

Ball-striking is right there. I was missing a few tee shots left early on this afternoon, so I might try and fix that a little bit next week and go into Dubai hopefully with my game in a bit better shape and a bit sharper.

Q. You'd love to win here, but if it is to be another second place finish, you're in pretty good shape -- the season kicks off well, looking ahead to the Masters, also.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, I feel my game is in good shape going into this run of golf that I've got coming up. It's a busy schedule that I've got going into the Masters. I would have liked to have started the season just that little bit better with a win, but I feel my performance here, I can take plenty away from it and build on it and build gradually up towards the first major of the season at Augusta.

Q. It's a different type of schedule for you, playing a lot more golf in the lead-up to the first major this time.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, playing a couple extra events this year. I don't know if I would say that I was under-golfed going into Augusta the last couple of years, but just the way the schedule is, there's a couple more tournaments that I'd like to play. The Match Play is the week before the Masters again, last year it was after. A couple extra tournaments, but I don't mind that. It means I'll be in good form and any sort of rust or anything I need to work on my game will be hopefully eradicated by that point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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