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July 10, 2019

Rory McIlroy

North Berwick, Scotland

CLARE BODEL: Welcome to the Renaissance Club, Rory, and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open. You've played here a couple of times over the past few years. This is perhaps a course you won't know as well, but what have you made of it so far?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, I've played next door at Muirfield and I've played next door at Archerfield, but never here. I was actually here in December for Oliver Fisher's wedding, and the furthest we made it was to the clubhouse at the Renaissance for drinks.

Yeah, glad to be here. Obviously had three weeks off from competitive golf, so nice to get back at it and get a scorecard in hand and get some competitive golf. I haven't played the golf course yet. I was planning to go out and play nine holes yesterday, but the weather wasn't really cooperating. So decided to leave it to the Pro-Am today.

Looking forward to getting out there and seeing what it's like. I've heard some good reports. Pretty tough off the tee and some pretty undulating greens. Looking forward to the test.

CLARE BODEL: Also been a pretty successful year for so you far, a couple of wins, a few Top 10s on The European Tour. You're obviously playing here with a bit of an eye on next week. How do you feel your prep is going into that?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, as much as this week's, you know, the weeks before set you up for the week after, I'm playing with this event with two eyes firmly focused on the Scottish Open. It's not as if I'm trying to replicate shots or different things here that I might be doing in Portrush.

I mean, first and foremost, I want to play well here. I want to get myself into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament. I think if I do that, that's the best way to prepare for next week. You know, get yourself into contention. Feel the heat of getting in there on Sunday and trying to play some good golf.

But I feel like my prep's went well. I went to Portrush on Saturday and had a look at it and sort of refamiliarised myself with it a little bit. The setup is a little different than what we would usually play, so just sort of getting lines off tees and just sort of getting comfortable with it.

But yeah, I'm looking forward to a couple weeks of links golf.

Q. As you said, you haven't played since the U.S. Open. Can you give us a sense of what you've been up to?
RORY McILROY: So spent a week in California after Pebble Beach. Went down to Big Sur for a few days and just sort of switched off. Had a nice retreat, and then we went to L.A. for a couple of days. Back to Florida for about ten days. Did some work with Michael. Worked on the house. Trying to move in. Then spent Fourth of July up in upstate New York with Erica's parents, and then flew Friday night to get into Belfast Saturday. Had the weekend in Northern Ireland and then over here. It's been a nice, you know, combination of a bit of chill-out time and a bit of practise.

Q. What did you think of Portrush when you saw it with the stands up?
RORY McILROY: I was saying to someone yesterday, I expected it to feel different than it did. It still just feels like Portrush to me.

Yes, the stands are up and it looks fantastic, but it's still the same golf course. It's still -- I haven't played it much over the last few years. We played the rope there in 2012. I haven't really -- I played the new holes just before the Portrush at Portstewart a couple years ago. Played 18 holes in October.

So I was sort of a little, do I really need to refamiliarise myself with this place; how much time do I need to spend. When I got on the first tee, everything sort of started coming back to me: On the second tee, I aim it at the brown house, the fourth -- everything started to come back. It felt like just the same old golf course that I grew up playing and it was nice.

I had not seen my Mum in three months. She left after Augusta to come back home. I made arrangements to go to dinner with them and I said, can we have it about 8.00 because I don't know how much time I'm going to have to spend at Portrush and sort of just get my bearings, and I ended up moving the dinner forward because, you know, I was out there for -- I didn't needed to spend as much as time as I thought I did, which I guess is a comforting thing in a way.

It was great to see it. It's been a long time in the making and obviously everyone over there is so excited for next week.

Q. As you mentioned, everybody is so excited, the hype for it has been going on for ages. Tickets sold out instantly. How do you prepare yourself to cope with that next week?
RORY McILROY: I guess it's the same golf course I've grown up playing my whole life, and it's the same tournament that I haven't finished outside the top five for the last few years. They are two pretty good factors, and you know, just keep reminding myself of that I guess. It's the same golf tournament and it's the same golf course.

Q. You've never won in Scotland. Is that something you intend to prove out this week?
RORY McILROY: I would like to. Definitely would like to. I've been close a couple of times in Opens. But yeah, I was sort of proud to add another National Open to my C.V. a few weeks ago in Canada.

As I said in my opening remarks, I'm here fully focused on this event. I think it's a little disrespectful when people come in and they are treating it as a warm-up. I think most tournaments deserve to stand on their own two feet and have some stature, and The Scottish Open is one of these events on The European Tour. It's a big event. A lot of prize money, a lot of points. So it deserves to stand-alone and not just be this tournament that's attached on to the week after.

I'm fully focused on getting out there and playing well this week and trying to get myself in the mix.

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