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September 30, 2016

Rory McIlroy

Thomas Pieters

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for rejoining us here at the 41st Ryder Cup. Happy to be joined by Rory McIlroy, on my left, and my far left, Thomas Pieters. They went 1-1 on the day.

We'll open up with general comments from both gentlemen and then we will open up for questions.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think just on behalf of The European Team as a whole, we're absolutely delighted to go into tomorrow with not quite the deficit that we were facing going into this afternoon's fourballs.

As you could probably imagine, the mood in the team room just there was quite buoyant and definitely feel like there was a shift in momentum this afternoon. You know, hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow morning.

THOMAS PIETERS: Obviously I would have loved to have two points, but I'm quite happy with one at the moment. The way the morning went, the way I played this morning, I played quite solid and, you know, kept it going in the afternoon. Made a couple of nice putts when they needed to go in.

When they tried to come back at us, we stepped on them and got on -- got 4-up really quick.

Q. When you finished out on 16, that was a pretty emphatic celebration and whatnot. Can you describe the emotion of that for starters and just kind where that came from? And as a follow-up, any worry that that kind of action, you know, fires up the other side a little bit going forward?
RORY McILROY: Sorry, what was the first part of that --

THOMAS PIETERS: What kind of ice cream do you like --

Q. Is that out of character --
RORY McILROY: For me, even before I hit that putt, I wanted to put an exclamation point on that session for us. I honestly actually thought about the celebration before I hit the putt. I sort of knew -- I knew it had a good chance of going in. It was downhill, I just had to get it started on the right line and gravity did the rest.

Yeah, look, it's a hostile environment out there, and I just want everyone that's watching out there to know how much this means to us, how much it means to me personally and obviously us as a team.

You know, we're not going down without a fight. It was 4-zip after the morning. We've pulled it back a good bit, and we plan to pull it back even further going into tomorrow.

Q. Any concern looking back now that maybe that motivates them a little bit that -- how fired up -- that show of emotion.
RORY McILROY: No. No worries on my part. I bowed to them, said, "You're welcome for the show," and we move on (laughter).

Q. I know there were a few, "Get in the waters" when your ball was in the air, but beyond that, was there anything that made you say it was more hostile than Medinah?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, there was a few things. It's hostile out there.

Look, and it's not -- you get the minority of people that are cheering against the other team. Most of the people out there are respectful and are just cheering really hard for the U.S. Team. That's totally acceptable and that's exactly what happens in Europe. But still, it's a hostile environment that the people out there don't want you to hole a putt. They don't want you to hit a good shot. I think when you do hole a putt or hit a good shot, it just makes it that much more satisfying.

Q. What do you think of the crowd cheering after a missed putt or a bad shot, for example, and specifically, Sullivan's shot into the water on 17, that roar? What do you think of that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, again, look, I'm all for people cheering for their team as much as they possibly can. I mean, that's sports and that's whatever.

That was a little disappointing in my eyes that that happened. But again, it's a minority of people, and you know, most people out there are being respectful and respectful of the etiquette of our game of golf.

You know, as we say, we want this Ryder Cup to be played in a very sportsman like conduct, and a sportsmanlike conduct that the great late Arnold Palmer would be very proud of.

Q. Was the celebration in any way an attempt to show that you guys are not fazed by anything that you hear from the crowd and that you're prepared for that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. Obviously not fazed by anything that is said by the crowd and not fazed by anything that the U.S. Team throws at us.

We were 4-nil down going into this afternoon and I thought the whole team showed a lot of heart out there. I mean, just to -- you know, we played for each other. We went out there with the mind-set of if we could just win this session somehow, you would be right back in it.

As I said, I wanted to put an exclamation point on the end of that session and thankfully I was able to do that for my teammates.

Q. Forgive the conjecture, but it looked like maybe you didn't shake Johnson's hand -- was there anything intentional --
RORY McILROY: Oh, did I not? No, no, not at all. I get on really well with AJ and DJ and all the Johnson family. I'll have to go and apologize to him. I did not know that. I sort of got caught up in the moment. AJ, I would class him as a good buddy of mine on Tour, along with DJ. Yeah, I guess I just got caught up in that whole scenario.

Sorry for AJ. To do that definitely wasn't my intention at all, and I'll send him a text or go and find him in the hotel tonight to apologize to him.

Q. What was it like being able to play your first Ryder Cup day with the likes of Rory and Lee, and how did that feel to get that sort of experience?
THOMAS PIETERS: Well, obviously it's great to be playing with a veteran like him already.

RORY McILROY: (Laughing) yeah.

THOMAS PIETERS: It's nice to see how he just hits the shots that need to be hit under pressure. He gets so fired up. Maybe this morning, nobody really got fired up on our team, but especially this afternoon, it was cool to see how passionate those guys are, and I think that I still need to learn because I've been pretty quiet, I think.

Q. After the 4-0 in foursomes, you now have to play it again tomorrow. What's your expectations? How does Darren in your own mind switch things up to make it more of a chance to get some points out of foursomes?
RORY McILROY: No, that's a good question, Alex. I think when we looked at those pairings on paper last night going into the foursomes, we didn't expect that that was going to be the case; that that was going to happen, and neither did the vice captains or Darren.

Yeah, you know, that's what they are doing right now. Darren and his vice captains are trying to make a plan of what order we're going to go tomorrow and who is going to play with who. Obviously there was -- you know, geez, every partnership didn't quite work, but some played a little bit better than others.

We'll probably -- my guess is stick with a couple of those pairings and then maybe mix it up a little bit. But definitely something we need to address going into tomorrow if we can -- if we want to ride this little wave of momentum that we have; we obviously need to address it.

Q. Just a boring golf question. Can you just talk us through the shot on 16, the approach, the club, distance, etc., and how difficult a shot it was and how pleased you were to pull it off?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was a perfect number for me. It was 226, a little in off the right. It was a good 4-iron. Just had to put a good swing on a 4-iron.

It was actually nice where Matt Kuchar's ball was. It gave me a nice starting point or target to aim at, and I knew the wind could just sort of let it drift left and get a little bit closer to the hole.

Yeah, I mean, hit a great shot. If anything, my iron play wasn't that good today. I missed a few out to the right, but really committed to that one and hit a good one.

And again, as I said earlier, the putt, it was so fast. I just had to get it rolling and start it on the right line, and I knew maybe two or three feet out that it was going in.

And just nice to win the match. Nice to get that point on the board personally, but also for the team. And you know, it will make tonight feel that little bit better. But we need to regroup and do it all again tomorrow.

Q. Could you answer one question in Dutch for us, please. Could you just give us your thoughts on the day and your first experience of Ryder Cup golf.
THOMAS PIETERS: (Answering in Dutch.)

You get that, Rory?

RORY McILROY: Yes (laughter).

JOHN DEVER: Thank you, gentlemen, and enjoy your evenings.

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