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August 13, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Carmel, Indiana

Q. Welcome back to the BMW Championship. If we can get some comments on being here this week.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, good to be back here. This place holds some pretty good memories for me and obviously a few of the other Euros that are here. But yeah, you know, it's another opportunity this week to try and prime a little bit higher going into Atlanta.

I played a few holes out there today. The course is in great shape. A little different than the setup was at the Ryder Cup a few years ago. There's a lot more rough. The fairways are probably a little narrower. But overall, yeah, it's good to be back, and hopefully some of those good vibes that I have here can stay with me and I can produce some good golf.

Q. Do you need police escorts this week?
RORY McILROY: You know, they did offer one to me, so whether I take them up on it or not, I'm not sure. Hopefully I won't need it, and we're staying a little closer to the course this time.

Q. Does it seem like seven years since the Ryder Cup?
RORY McILROY: It does. I've played in three Ryder Cups since then. Yeah, a lot has happened. Yeah, it sort of does. It does and it doesn't. I mean, I remember it very well, but at the same time, you look back at all the things that I've experienced and done since then, and a lot has happened in seven years.

Q. This is actually sort of part of your origin story with Erica. Does it make it any more special for you guys to be back here for that reason?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, maybe a little bit. You know, when I pulled up -- Erica that week was always the one that was checking us in and out. She was there at transportation, so she was always in the car park over there, and pulling into the car park today -- it's actually not her first time back here. I actually did a First Tee event here a couple years ago with Luke Donald, and we came here, so that was sort of our first time back.

But yeah, it's still cool to look around and think about that week, and obviously everything that's happened since then. It is pretty cool.

Q. Do you ever -- have you looked back at the video of the 18th at East Lake last year with Tiger, and does it do anything for you? I realize obviously you were trying to win a tournament yourself, but at that point you weren't going to. Were you able to appreciate the moment?
RORY McILROY: Not really. I played so bad, I just wanted to get out of there. I was very happy for him. I feel like that whole scene coming down 18 was pretty cool, and I definitely took that in, and I realized what it meant for golf and what it meant for the people, but I haven't watched it back. I've had no reason to. I didn't want to see myself spraying it in the trees all day. But obviously a great moment for golf and cool to be a part of, I guess.

Q. Is there at all any fear for your well-being --
RORY McILROY: Not really. There was a point where people were getting a little close, and I saw all these security guys run over and they were all running to a guy in a red shirt. None of them were coming near me. I got out of harm's way and just run ahead. But no, it was fine.

Q. Can you distinguish between the four playoff events versus three? Being high up, are you happy that it's three?
RORY McILROY: Yes, I'm happy that it's three because I've got to go to Switzerland straight after the TOUR Championship and play the week after, so it is four in a row for me. It's probably a little more of a sprint than it was before, but at the same time, it's the same thing. I mean, okay, it didn't happen last year, but really -- you really want to win the TOUR Championship. If you win the TOUR Championship, for the most part you win the FedExCup, and obviously this year that's what's going to happen.

I guess it was sort of -- there was an instance where I won two of the playoff events and didn't win the FedExCup, and it was --

Q. It was the Horschel year, wasn't it?
RORY McILROY: No, '12, Sneds. And then I had maybe -- I think I had two top-5s, a top-10 and like a top-25 in '14 and Billy beat me there. I don't know, I feel -- I sort of like this -- with the position I'm in I like it better now that there's only two more events.

Q. Where is the FedExCup in terms of money and prestige? What's more meaningful? Or is that too dumb a question?
RORY McILROY: No, because I think they've made it about money, so there is a part that is about that. But there is a prestige part of it because you need to -- the year that I won the FedExCup was the worst ranking I went into the Playoffs with. I was 36th going into the -- and I won Boston and won the TOUR Championship and won. I've been No. 1 going into it twice and haven't won.

You know, you have to appreciate it for what it is. You know, at the end of the day, I think what they've tried to do with the Wyndham rewards is tried to reward consistency across the season, but then after the regular season is done, these three events that you see Patrick jump from 50 whatever to 2 last week, so that's the nature of it, and that's what we -- we don't get to sort of decide what the -- well, I guess we do a little bit on what tournaments we play and what the format is, but I'm just happy I have a place to play, and I try to go out and play my best.

Q. Would you rather be more consistent during the regular season like you were with 13 top-10s and two wins, including a PGA TOUR signature event, or get hot in Playoffs like you have or like Patrick did this past week?
RORY McILROY: You know, this has been my most consistent year of my career by far. 13 top-10s out of 17 PGA TOUR events. You know, the two wins, if I had a -- it's my best strokes gained numbers, my best stats. I'm not outside the top 20 in any stat that I really look at, strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained around the green, strokes gained putting, and that's part of why I've been so consistent.

But I guess -- I think the narrative and the way golf has become, consistency maybe is not as valued as it maybe once was. I think that's sports in general.

But I feel much better about my game. I feel much better about my game this year than I have in previous years where I've been a little bit more hit and miss. Like in 2012 I won five times, but I also missed like four or five cuts and had a real bad spell in there. But this year it's just been week after week, playing pretty solid golf, and just sort of being patient, waiting for my time to try to pick off the wins.

Q. Is this a golf course that suits your eye?
RORY McILROY: I think so. I mean, it's long. It's a long golf course. There's a lot of doglegs that the longer guys can take advantage of and hit it over corners, so I think someone that plays the game the way I do, I've got a bit of an advantage around here.

Q. We've had this staggered leaderboard at East Lake as this abstract concept for a few months. Are we getting to the point now where it's starting to feel more real and it's crystallized in terms of this guy might be a 10 or a birdie here might move me up a stroke or two?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think the whole -- what you want to do is I want to be 10-under par standing on that first tee in Atlanta next week so I know that I want to get to No. 1 and I need to win. It's hard enough to win golf tournaments when you're all starting on a level playing field, but whenever it's staggered like that, it's a tough proposition if someone like Brooks Koepka or Patrick Reed or whatever is starting two or three shots ahead of you. Like obviously that can -- 72 holes is a lot of golf to play and things can happen, but I think it all evens out over the course of the week, and to spot guys of that caliber a few shots at the start of the week is pretty tough.

Q. Are you good with that format? Are you all right with it, the way they've changed it?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, you've got to -- for me, I'm just going to try to treat it as much as I can and not look at leaderboards, just like another event. Going to start at even par for the week, try to shoot four good scores and see where that leads me.

Q. When are you going to Switzerland?
RORY McILROY: Next Sunday night.

Q. Why?
RORY McILROY: To play a golf tournament.

Q. You've got a fairly busy schedule?
RORY McILROY: I do, yeah. So with my deal with Omega, I have to play one of the Omega events a year, and I didn't play Dubai at the start of the year, so I'm playing Crans. And then I'm going to come home to Florida and then I'll play BMW and the Dunhill, and then I'll take a couple weeks off and play Japan and China, and then I'll play Dubai at the end of the year, so I've still got quite a lot.

Q. Kapalua?
RORY McILROY: We'll see.

Q. Would you like to make it a tradition at East Lake to drop the ropes at 18, have a chance to make a walk with the crowd behind you?
RORY McILROY: No, I'm good. I'm fine with them standing behind the ropes.

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