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August 9, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Jersey City, New Jersey

Q. Can you sum up what happened?
RORY McILROY: So the outcome is there was no penalty. They reviewed it. So I knew that rule had changed this year a little bit in the bunkers or the penalty areas or whatever they are calling it. I didn't -- so I thought there was a clump of -- so I thought there was a rock behind like sort of beside my ball, and I went to pick it up. So I touched it and I realized it wasn't a rock, so I just went, oh, that's not a rock, but I touched the sand, right.

So I was like, I don't really know -- like it's such a gray area. But the way the rule is written, it's like 12.1 and then refers to 8.2 or whatever it is, but it says if there's no intent and if you haven't improved your lie, and you haven't improved your line of play; and I'm very comfortable. Like the reason I called someone over is I don't want anything on my conscience, either. I feel like I play the game with integrity and I'm comfortable saying that I didn't improve anything. I thought it was a rock; it wasn't. I moved my hand away, and then I was like, I don't know if I've done anything wrong here.

They got the USGA involved. Rang them. They sort of went back and forth a little bit, and then it came down to that -- in a way, it came down to me and said, okay, are you comfortable telling us you didn't improve your lie, and for me, I am comfortable saying that.

Q. So you accepted it, when it went into the bunker --
RORY McILROY: So I -- you know, any time that thing happens, because the rules official said, do you want to play and we can sort of -- no, because any time that happens, I think back to Dustin and Oakmont. I'm like, I don't want that. So either give me a penalty or don't give me a penalty. At least I have a clear sort of mind in knowing what I need to do or what score I'm on.

He said -- at that time, he said a two-shot penalty. I'm like, fine, just let me play. There was people on the tee box. I didn't want to hold play up. I played the last few holes thinking that I was two shots worse than I was, but it ended up okay.

Q. Did you think that they were going to overturn it?
RORY McILROY: You know, I said to Harry walking down 15, I want to look at the rule book whenever I get in. I'm not going to sign my card until I'm comfortable with the wording.

But then as soon as I walked off 18, I was told that Slugger and the guys were reviewing it, anyway. So that gave me a little bit of hope I guess.

Q. Were you the only one who saw what happened?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, no one else -- like I don't think anyone saw. There was no one. That's the great thing about our game. If you feel like you've done something wrong, you call it on yourself and you make sure you haven't done anything wrong.

But yeah, I don't want to play with that sort of uncertainty the last few holes.

Q. Pleased with the round overall then?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'm two shots closer to the lead than I thought I was. Being 9-under going into tonight instead of 7-under; instead of five shots behind Dustin, I'm three, which it's a pretty big deal. I could have got a couple more out of my round. I missed those putts on 16 and 17, but overall I felt like I chipped and putted it well and made birdies when I could.

Q. Despite the confusion, what is your mind-set, being able to bounce back with a birdie straight after?
RORY McILROY: In a way, it nearly worked in my favor. It was like, okay, I sort of need to get these two shots back, and I had a little bit more intensity the next few holes. I could have birdied 15, 16, and 17 there. I was able to birdie the tougher of those three holes, so you know, I guess my minds set was I wanted to get those two shots back that I had lost, that I thought I had lost in the bunker. I wasn't quite able to do that but that was a huge putt for par on 18, but then obviously with the ruling on the course overturned, it feels better, and I'm more comfortable with it because I would have -- you know, look, the rules are the rules. But I knew that that rule had changed this year, and I was just -- I just wasn't quite sure if that was the right ruling that was given on the course. I just wanted to make sure.

Q. A lot of big names on the leaderboard.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's brilliant. A lot of big names. You know, DJ, Rahm, Justin Rose up there, Jordan. There's a lot of -- it's going to be an exciting weekend, yeah.

Q. Did you ask for a second opinion at the moment?
RORY McILROY: Well, they were on the radio. There was two or three guys involved, anyway. I heard Slugger's voice on the radio. At that point I was going to take whatever was given to me. Again, there was a group of guys on the tee box and I just didn't -- we already had a delay and I didn't want to hold play up any more. I was like, I'll play.

As soon as I teed off 15, I was sort of, I'll try to review that when I get in. That was sort of how it went.

Q. Were you annoyed at any point?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, at myself, though. I was like, why did I go down and touch that stupid thing, whatever it was. Yeah, I was a little peeved. Doug.

Q. Isn't all sand made out of rocks?
RORY McILROY: That was the point I was going to argue at the very end -- I was going to argue the end of the day, isn't it all just rock? (Laughter).

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