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June 13, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Pebble Beach, California

Q. Do you feel mission accomplished today, or do you feel like you left a few out there?
RORY MCILROY: No, I think my average the first one the last three years of this tournament is always 70.2. So I'm happy with this. It's my first round in the 60s at a U.S. Open since Chambers Bay in 2015. But it was out there. Benign conditions. It's a very soft start to a U.S. Open, which is a good thing, because you're completely in control of the golf course.

They can do whatever they want with it from here. It's not as if you're starting with a course that's in the condition like a Sunday and then you get three days and it sort of starts to get away from you. If they want to dial it up and make it a little bit further, they just don't have to put much water on it tonight and we'll come out tomorrow and it will play a little bit trickier. From the scores I'm seeing, that's really what I expect for tomorrow.

Q. (No microphone.)
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean -- yes, in terms of setup, maybe not the -- like the conditions, the fairways are very slow. The greens are quite soft still. But in terms of the setup, there's some generous -- I'm looking at the 13th fairway here. It's 50 yards wide, 45 yards wide from left-to-right. There's generous targets out there still.

But all this golf course needs is just a little tweak here and there, and it can play a lot more difficult. So while the conditions are this benign and the golf course is still sort of soft and slow, you need to take advantage of it, and thankfully I did today.

Q. You mentioned playing your way into this tournament. What's the difference for you doing that rather than showing up playing a bunch of rounds?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, it's -- because you're playing golf. You're playing golf. There's such a difference between -- yeah, I could have came here last week and played this golf course to death, but it wouldn't have done me any good.

I needed previous experience with that to teach me that. I don't think there's any substitute for getting a card and a pencil in your hand and going out and trying to shoot a score under tournament conditions.

Q. You talked about talking to Johnny Miller. What did you learn from that conversation with Johnny?
RORY MCILROY: Just -- even talking -- I said yesterday I had a great table with Brooks and Jordan and just sort of talking to them, how they're going to play the golf course. A unanimous sort of thought with all of us: You hit it into the middle of every green here. These greens are, on average, the smallest that we play all year. I think they're 3500 square feet is the average.

So unanimous decision was if you hit the middle of the greens all week, you're not going far wrong. I know it's important most weeks, but especially this week, just keep it in the fairways and keep hitting greens, and you're going to be okay.

Q. Did you expect the front nine to be the scoring nine so you were just --
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I think this golf course has a really good flow to it whenever you do tee off 10. Because you've got 10. But then really you've got some clear road ahead where you can -- you have some chances.

You've got wedge on 11, wedge on 13, par-5 14, wedge on 15, wedge on 16. Par-5 18. Wedge on 1. Wedge on 3. So you have -- you can get a little bit of momentum going if you play well.

So where I feel the way the course plays from the first hole, it's sort of a little more -- you've got little -- two- or three-hole stretches where you can make some birdies, but then you've got like -- even today 8 and 9, they're two really tough finishing holes. So -- but, yeah, I fully expected that the front nine is a nine where you can make a score, for sure.

Q. The momentum coming in off the Canadian Open, does that vibe still with you?
RORY MCILROY: I think the comfort level in my game is still there. It's nothing to do with the wind. And it's more -- I saw really good shots last week, not maybe under pressure, but in a situation where I needed to hit good shots. And I was able to do that and that breeds confidence.

So I think just confidence and comfort and that's sort of what I got from last week.

Q. It's you said it's been two and a half years since you felt this comfort level?
RORY MCILROY: In my game, yeah. I felt really comfortable with my game all year. It feels good. Obviously I've won a couple of times and had some other really good performances. So, yeah, I'm feeling good.

Q. The courses that you grew up playing, help to come to Pebble?
RORY MCILROY: Not really. It feels similar, but the golf courses play so differently. Again, maybe over the weekend if they firm it up a little bit. But it's so soft at the moment.

Q. Is it a challenge to be patient in majors?
RORY MCILROY: Not really, no. Yeah, I'm eager to get back into that position, but at the same time I'm still going to go home and my wife is still going to hopefully love me and my parents are going to love me. And I'll be the same person. Whether I have four majors or 12 majors, I'll still be the same person.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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