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March 14, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Seems like more of what you've been doing as of late, continued solid play.
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, just good solid play. Hitting it well tee to green. Taking most of the opportunities I'm giving myself. Being efficient around the greens when I do miss them. So yeah, just a continuation of basically what I've tried to do all year.

Q. How did you feel the golf course played? There was some wind out there, but it was definitely softer, particularly approaches into the green.
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, a hundred percent, and the fairways, also. I think the course over the last 10 years or whatever it's been in May, it hasn't lent itself to aggressive play. It's sort of position and irons off tees and really trying to plot your way around the golf course, where I hit drivers on holes today that I would never have hit driver the last few years. So just to be a little more aggressive, get a shorter club in your hand, and even when you are aggressive and you miss, it's a touch easier to get yourself back into position. The rough isn't as long or as gnarly. You're running into that pine straw and you still have some sort of a shot and some control of your ball. And then when you miss the greens, you're not having to contend with that Bermuda, you're not having to guess, how is this going to come out, whatever.

So it lends itself to more aggressive play. I don't know if the course is easier or not. We'll see what the stroke average is at the end of the day. But because I think it's playing longer, it'll play longer for most of the guys, and I think it should all even out. But I definitely like the golf course the way it is in March.

Q. I want to ask you about your putting, the lines you're taking. It seems like you're hitting the lines you want to hit because they're either lipping out or --
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, it's just reads here and there or the speed might be just slightly off. But most of the putts I've hit over the last few months have been mostly good putts. I've worked hard on making sure that I can aim the putter correctly and that I can start it on line, and then the only two things you have to worry about after that is your read and your speed.

But for the most part, I've putted pretty well. My stats have shown that over the first part of the year, and hopefully I just continue to improve a little bit each week.

Q. (Indiscernible).
RORY MCILROY: It hit a sprinkler or a grate just in front of the green and went about 50 yards over the back.

Q. Tommy's 65 today; do you have an assessment of the way he's playing when he might get a win over here?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean, he's one of the best players in the world, and he's had his chances already, and so, yeah, I think it's only a matter of time for sure.

Q. Where did you hit driver?
RORY MCILROY: The 4th hole -- I mean, it was back into the wind, but still, the ball hits on the fairway and it's not going that -- it's staying within sort of 10 yards of its pitch mark. You know, and then obviously it's a Pete Dye course. You've got all these funky lines around, and in May it gets firm. You get a bad bounce here. With the Rye and how lush the grass is, even if you hit it into these banks, it's not going too far, so you can be a little more aggressive. Like even, I hit my second shot on 2 today, I knew I was going into the left rough or into those left moguls, but I was much more comfortable doing that this year than I would have been in previous years.

Q. At this stage of the year where are you?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I'm comfortable in my game. Everything is sort of -- I'm driving it pretty well. My iron play for the most part is pretty good. I'm doing everything well. I expect to be up there in terms of strokes gained off the tee. I'm back to where I feel like I belong there. I'm chipping away at some of the other areas that I maybe wasn't as strong at over the last couple years, and it's just a matter of doing that.

Q. There's been a lot obviously made about your Sundays, but that hasn't really prevented you from starting well, generally speaking.
RORY MCILROY: No, I mean, if I had have had a better start last week -- I shot 72-70 last week and had to play myself back into the tournament on Saturday. But I guess my thing is, like I haven't held a lead going into Sunday in a while, so it's not as if I'm -- yeah, I was only one back last week and I maybe was trying to rely too much on playing the par-5s well and sort of making my score that way, but it was a very difficult golf course, and I felt like that was the best way to approach it. I'd say the only Sunday I was really disappointed in this year was Kapalua, which is the first tournament of the year. Every other Sunday I've basically done what I've wanted to do.

Q. You've been able to put not winning behind you --
RORY MCILROY: It's a new week. That's the great thing about golf. Everything is -- once you wake up on Monday morning, it's a fresh start. It's a new tournament. It's a new opportunity. That's the nice thing about our game, which doesn't happen in some other sports, and it's nice to take advantage of that luxury.

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