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September 18, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Surrey, England

NEIL AHERN: It's been a superb season for you. Shaping up quite nicely for you this week, isn't it.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, it is. It's good to be back playing in Europe, especially coming to Wentworth at this time of year. You know, I came to the Match Play a few times as a kid and watched. It was a bit later in the year. It was October, but the leaves were changing and it was always a great atmosphere and always felt like the weather was actually decent. Looks like the weather this week is going to be good.

And yeah, you know, I think it's a great thing for the tournament. Look, you had Tony Finau in here a couple minutes ago, and he's a player that definitely wouldn't play in this event if it was still in May. I think for the tournament, this new date is going to be fantastic.

Q. How much golf have you played? Did you want time away from the clubs?
RORY McILROY: I did want time away from the clubs. I had to drag myself off the sofa next week: You're playing next week; you've got to do something. Hit balls on Saturday and hit balls on Sunday before flying over here. Then first day back on the golf course was yesterday.

But game feels good. I'm still swinging it well, and hitting the ball well, and played pretty good in the practise round yesterday, so I played a lot of golf this year and taking a couple weeks off I don't think's going to do me any harm.

Q. Going into the next major, is it fair to say your goal is to become No. 1 in the world again?
RORY McILROY: I think so. You know, I don't know if that's realistic. It's definitely to get closer. I've got an opportunity over the next few weeks where, you know, there's a lot of World Ranking points here. There will be big World Ranking points in Japan and China, Dubai at the end of the year.

So my goal is to get closer, just to try to keep progressing. Get a couple more wins. Feel like I'm playing well enough; the most I've ever won in a season is five. I'd love to at least equal that and try to better that.

So yeah, it's just keep going, keep -- try not to let my foot off the pedal and you know, finish the year the way I started it on a very positive note. You know, really enjoy the off-season, or whatever off-season we have, December, January, and reset and go again.

Q. In 2014, you arrived here and by your high standards, you had not had the greatest start to the year and beginning here was the springboard for everything that followed. How much is that down to this week here at Wentworth that year?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think so. Obviously that win was something out of the blue, everything else that was going on in my life back then.

Yeah, definitely, I think if you can play good golf in those circumstances, it says a lot about your character. And then I went down and rode that wave of momentum all the way through the summer as you said, majors and Ryder Cup and all that.

I think you sometimes need these little Sparks to get you going and that was definitely a spark for me to give me that little push forward and do what I did that year. I think all the great golf that I've played up until this point this year is, you know, that moves me in the right direction and gives me motivation to try and end this year well, and try to, you know, as I said, get a couple more wins.

Q. You mentioned the prospect of five wins or maybe even more for some season. How many more chances do you have? How many more tournaments are you playing this season?
RORY McILROY: Five. Here, Dunhill, Japan, China, Dubai, if I qualify for Dubai, but I should be there.

And yeah, then I'll take a couple months off and then start again.

Q. How have you found the schedule this season with the revamped majors and sort of this feeling like a different part of the season, almost?
RORY McILROY: To be honest with you, it's been quite tough. I'm not used to playing this much golf in a short period of time. You used to play a couple weeks on, take a couple weeks off, play another couple weeks. I think I played like 13 tournaments in a 16-week stretch.

So it's a lot of golf, and it's something we're going to have to get used to. It's the new schedule, especially throw in the Olympics next year and The Ryder Cup and everything else.

It's just going to be so -- it's going to be so congested in that middle part of the year. That's why I needed those two weeks on the sofa, just to sort of reset and get myself in the right place mentally to get motivated to go again for this last little bit of the year.

Q. There have been complaints; I don't think Justin Rose is a fan of the condensed schedule and Jack Nicklaus said that he doesn't like the fact that the major season is so condensed. Do you think there's ever a chance it will switch back or do you think this is just the new reality?
RORY McILROY: Look, I think there's so many different stakeholders in the game. There's so many different -- and they all have their own priorities, right. The PGA TOUR have their priority, The PGA of America have theirs, the USGA, R&A. There's so many different entities in the game and they are all pulling in different directions, and at some point or another, something is not quite going to work.

So I think it's the way it is for a while. My only thing is, you know, I love the game of golf and I as a fan would love to follow it for more than just the five months a year the majors are in. Just try and keep relevance there.

But I understand that's -- you know, maybe by -- if you look at the way like the NFL works in the States, they end -- the Super Bowl ends in February and they don't play their first game again until September and that anticipation; so maybe that seven months of anticipation to, Augusta is always Augusta and the type and that sort of stuff. Maybe that is a good thing for the game. Time will tell.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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