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August 10, 2017

Rory McIlroy

Charlotte, North Carolina

Q. What was the story today?
RORY McILROY: It was okay. I started well, 2-under through 12, coming through part of the course where you're looking to pick a couple of shots up on 14 and 15. Played that stretch of holes, 13, 14, 15, in 3-over.

So if I just could have had that three-hole stretch back, but I think other than that, I played nicely. Did what I needed to do. Birdied the par 5s, birdied the holes that you should birdie.

Yeah, I'm just disappointed with that three-hole stretch, but right in it. It wasn't very easy. It was tough. Greens were difficult. Greens got very grainy as the day went on, as well. If you just hit a putt a tiny bit off line, it exaggerated it. It was tough to hole putts this afternoon. Hopefully the surfaces are a little better tomorrow morning and we can hopefully hole some more putts.

Q. Do you regret the decision or the execution on 14?
RORY McILROY: Just the execution. The decision was, I'm sure, more than half the field, I would say 75 percent of the field are going for that green. I just turned it over too much. I hit 3-wood. In hindsight, the wind was helping a little bit. I probably didn't need to turn it over to get it there. I just was trying to hit it up the right side. I thought it was the safer shot. If it doesn't turn, you're in that bunker on the right and you can get it up-and-down. I just overcooked it a little bit.

But that wasn't the reason I made double. Obviously hit it in the water but it was the first chip shot, that was the disappointing thing. I still could have made a par from that and moved on. But no, the play, it was the right play. Especially for that back pin. I just didn't execute it properly.

Q. How different is this place from the Quail Hollow you're used to?
RORY McILROY: It's different. I think one of the biggest things is the bermudarough just around the greens, missing fairways. It's just once you get yourself out of position, it's very difficult. It's tricky around the greens.

You know, with the way that the bermudarough is, for example, I missed the 12th fairway on the left and then it's in that bermudarough. You just can't get any spin on the ball. You know, a few years ago, you're able to hook that wedge around and get it on the green. Where today, it's good just to get it up in that right bunker.

Just little things like that that make a difference. And the greens are as firm as I've ever seen, probably any greens at a PGA Championship. That makes things difficult, as well. Yeah, it's definitely playing a few shots harder than it usually is, and it's a major championship; it should be.

I thought the course played great today. As I said, the surfaces on the greens just got a little grainy as the afternoon went on and looking forward to getting some better surfaces in the morning.

Q. What pleased you most about your performance?
RORY McILROY: I stayed patient. You know, even when I went, I guess I went over par after six, I sort of stayed patient and I knew I had chances coming up on the 7th, the 8th, the 10th. This course, even though it's playing difficult, the course still gives you chances. I just stayed patient and waited and knew that if I could birdie the birdie holes, I would be in a good position going into the last few.

I put myself in a good position going into the last few holes. I just didn't, as I said, that stretch, 13, 14, 15, just put me back a little bit.

Q. Do you have to think of a really aggressive thought to play that shot out of 15, the ball was so down --
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was 5-wood. It was fine. A wood comes out of that rough way better than an iron does. Yeah, I guess I just told myself to hit down on it and I knew it would come out sort of hot. It would come out with no spin. I actually thought it went into that front bunker. I didn't know it sort of skirted it. Yeah, that 5-wood worked pretty well out of this bermudarough.

Q. Can you identify a moment where it really felt good or it helped to have Harry on the bag?
RORY McILROY: I sort of got it rolling. I started hitting some really good drives. Hit the green in two on 7. Hit driver on the 8th hole. I don't know how many guys are hitting driver there but I felt pretty comfortable doing that. Made birdie. Good drive on 9; good drive on 10; good drive on 11. I guess when you feel like that, it's nice to just have someone there that let's you go. You know, I was just sort of free-wheeling it. It was nice to get into a mind-set like that.

You know, the wedge shot on 11, I was a little -- I didn't expect it to spin back as much as it did, but yeah, it's just when you get into a mind-set -- I see a good score out there. As I said, I was -- for a stretch of that round, I drove it really well. I was hitting the ball well. I could see birdies. I can see a low one out there. It's just a matter of not shooting yourself in the foot too often like I did today.

Q. All your major wins, you've gotten off to a really good start --
RORY McILROY: I'm only five behind. 4-under is the best score out there. It's a tough golf course. I shoot something in the 60s tomorrow, move right up there. So yeah, I'm in it -- yeah.

Q. What's making it more difficult -- do you equate that to how many shots --
RORY McILROY: Well, to par, we'll start with 1, because that's a par 71 and not a par 72. And then I'd say it's 2 to 3 shots tougher. I'd say that's probably a fair reflection, yeah.

Q. Is it more like a U.S. Open setup than a PGA setup?
RORY McILROY: No, it still feels like a PGA setup. It's wide enough and it let's you play. Even if you do get in trouble, it gives you a chance to get out of trouble. It's not as brutal as a U.S. Open setup.

Greens are as firm as a U.S. Open but that's really -- that's it.

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