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June 2, 2018

Rory McIlroy

Dublin, Ohio

Q. 8-under today. Tell us about the round. What you got going out there.
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, honestly I was just happy to be here, get in another couple of rounds before going to the U.S. Open. It was sort of touch-and-go yesterday whether I was going to make the cut, I thought. When I finished, that even par was easily going to get in. And then once the guys went back out after the rain delay it seemed like the conditions were very benign and guys just couldn't stop making birdies. So bit of an edgy late afternoon, early evening, but it was nice just to be here for the weekend. And just went out with a mindset that we'll try and make the most of the next couple of days.

Q. How much easier is it coming out in the morning when there's not a lot of people, less pressure?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, again, I think it was more -- yeah, my attitude was I'm just happy to be here, I'm happy to get another couple of days of playing, and I really just treated it like practice. Just threw the tournament out the window, go and try and work on what you've been working on on the range, and go from there.

Q. What are you going to do tomorrow?
RORY MCILROY: Hopefully the same thing. Get a few more hours in bed, which is nice. But, yeah, same thing. I practiced for about an hour and a half yesterday on the range, trying a few things, and getting a little bit more comfortable with my swing. And today it was just an opportunity to go out and test it and see how it held up. So I'll try and do the same thing. I'll put the, probably going to be five or six shots back going into tomorrow anyway, so just keep, put the tournament out of your mind and just try to play a good round of golf.

Q. Is five or six doable?
RORY MCILROY: It's been done before.

Q. Well, there will be more people in front of you.
RORY MCILROY: Exactly. It really just depends on what the guys do this afternoon. It's still very receptive out there, it's very soft. You put the ball in the fairway and you've got a lot of chances to give yourself a lot of birdie looks. So we'll see where I am at the end of the day. But it was just nice to go out and shoot a good one like that.

Q. How close do you think you are to being ready for Shinnecock?
RORY MCILROY: Look, it's hard to say, because over the last few weeks I've played rounds of golf like this, but I've also played rounds of golf where it's been pretty average. So the good's very good and the bad is, I need to get that a little bit better. So if I could produce four days of golf at Shinnecock like I did today, then, yeah, I'm ready. But I've got a little bit of work to do just to get a bit more consistency in there.

Q. What's the best good that you did today? When you hash it all out, what are you pleased with?
RORY MCILROY: There was a lot of good stuff. My wedge play was very good, I drove the ball better, I was more committed to the swings I was trying to make. Then when I did get myself out of position, like I made three good pars on 16, 17 and 18. So it was all there today. I missed a couple of chances on 14 and 15 and on 9 as well, I guess. But apart from that it was all pretty good.

Q. Going into today, on the PGA TOUR this year, your weekend rounds are a full two strokes better average-wise than Thursday, Friday. Does that surprise you? And is there an explanation for it?
RORY MCILROY: No, I would say over the course of my career, I would say that stroke average would be pretty much similar. I think I've always been a better weekend player than I have -- I don't know why -- one of my goals this year is not to be such a slow starter, because I was the last couple of years. But I feel like I've started tournaments pretty well this year. But, no, are I guess the couple of rounds I shot at Bay Hill are in there and that sort of skews things a little bit, because there's not as much of a selection to take from. But, yeah, I have played better at the weekends, which is a good thing, I guess.

Q. I guess we always look at the weekends as the crucible of competition. But is it almost more stressful to just get to the weekend and then once you get to the weekend, it's like --
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean, look, I always felt that a golf tournament is 72 holes and nothing is ever decided until that 72nd hole is played. So whenever -- I get when people talk about backdoor top-10s and all this sort of stuff, but to the best of my knowledge a golf tournament's 72 holes. That last nine holes that you play still counts and still counts for something. So I've always viewed it like that. And even if you're not in the tournament, you're still trying your hardest to put up a good finish, because that can mean World Ranking points or Ryder Cup points, FedExCup points, whatever. So that's the way I've always viewed it. Just try to do that.

Q. When you have an organization that only sees you guys once a year, let's just use the USGA since they're next on the agenda. Do you have any, do you think that they have any idea how good you guys are, as they go about setting up a golf course?
RORY MCILROY: No, see I think the USGA thinks that we're better than we actually are, if that makes sense. I think they over think it. I think that and I don't want to single out Mike Davis here, I think it's a collective thought process. We were talking about this yesterday. They sort of, I don't think it should be as much of an exact science to set up golf course as it is. I mean get the fairways sort of firm, grow the rough, put the pins in some tough locations, but fair, and go let us play. So --

Q. What happens instead?
RORY MCILROY: They over think it and then they get like -- I think they're very, it's been a very reactionary few years to what happened at Chambers Bay, to Oakmont, to then -- because I think they felt Chambers Bay was -- Erin Hills was going to be similar to Chambers Bay, so they soaked it and made it really wide, and all of a sudden 16 under par wins again, and they're like, um, what just happened. So I think they have to take previous results out of their head and just say, okay, let's set up this golf course as best as we can and just let the guys go play.

Q. How bad was the rough today? We have heard horror stories that it's almost U.S. Open rough?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, you can get lucky in the rough or -- I thought that, I drew a couple of lies today that, I drew a pretty bad one on 11, but then I hit it right on 17 and I got away with it and I could get a 5-iron at it and get it up on the green. So it really just depends. But you get some good ones and some bad ones. But it's no different to what it has been the last couple days.

Q. How do you compare your game right now versus the state of your game going into Congressional when you won?
RORY MCILROY: I think, obviously, the results this year have probably been better than the results going into Congressional in 2011, but I felt much better about my game going into Congressional. I just felt really comfortable. I felt -- you just get a feeling. I've had a feeling a couple of times where I think this is going to be a good week and that was one of those weeks. But I feel like I need to see another round of golf tomorrow like I played today, plus some good practice next week leading up to the U.S. Open to feel like that again.

Q. What setup -- U.S. Open setup outside of Congressional did you, felt like it was appropriate?
RORY MCILROY: Oakmont. I thought Oakmont was really good. Bethpage, that was really wet and long and -- no, I thought they did great with Oakmont. You don't need to do much with Oakmont to have a U.S. Open there.

Q. The course pretty much dictates it?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And I'm looking forward to going to some of the more traditional venues. I haven't played Winged Foot, Pebble's -- Pebble, it can get firm and tricky, and then I guess Torrey Pines and Bethpage again. And Brookline, the country club, that's going to be an awesome one as well. So there's some really good venues coming up, which I don't think they need to do much to the golf courses, just set it up somewhat tough and let us go play.

Q. You are a big hitter and this golf course was set for 3-wood this week. What do you think about they reduce the distance golf ball that the Rules of Golf maybe adopt one day?
RORY MCILROY: I don't see it happening. Again, I don't think longer, bigger golf courses is the answer. You look at somewhere like Hilton Head or Sawgrass or -- they're short golf courses, but you get the greens a little firm and you grow the rough up a little bit, and then you put a premium on accuracy instead of on length and you have a tough golf course. So technology's technology. It's not as if Formula One cars are getting slower. Everything wants to be faster and it's like telling the drivers, okay, please slow down, we don't want you racing that fast. It's the same thing with the golf balls. So I can't see it happening, I wouldn't want it to happen.

Q. Going back to Bay Hill for a minute. I think Tiger was two, three, four groups ahead of you and was having a nice Sunday for most of the round. Could you feel that or sense that? Did it have any affect on you?
RORY MCILROY: I could sense it, I could hear it, I had to back off a couple of shots. I was on 11 green and he had just made birdie on 13. But it wasn't the birdie, it was actually when he was walking from the 13th green to the 14th tee, there was a Tiger chant, and then I had to sort of back off my putt and sort of let that calm down and go and hit. So you know it's there, but it didn't, I don't feel like it affected me in any way.

Q. So can you contrast at all noise, movement, which you get with position on leaderboard holes to play, I mean do you balance those two things, do you pay attention to any of it?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean you have to. I think you pay attention to it, you have to. I think it's there and right in front of you, so you can't, you're not oblivious to it. But I would definitely be paying more attention to leaderboard position, and not just him, that's anyone on the leaderboard. Just that where you are in the golf tournament, what you need to do the next few holes, that's the most important thing and that's what you have to concentrate on. That's why when people say they don't look at leaderboards and sometimes don't know where they are in golf tournaments, I find that crazy. I'm like you need to know where you are. So that's the most important thing, I feel.

Q. Is it awareness? Do you think this is to be aware?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, yeah, I think self-aware. I think you have to be aware of your surroundings. But I think mostly aware of what's going on yourself and inside your mind. I think if you can sort of, yeah, self-awareness is huge out here. If you can realize what's happening, whether you're getting too fast or you're getting whatever it may be, you can at least try to do something about it.

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