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September 21, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Surrey, England

Q. Yesterday we asked what you needed to play your way back in. Do you feel like you've played yourself in with a chance tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: Depends. I think if the wind gets up like it did yesterday for the guys that just went out, then maybe. It might be within six or seven going into tomorrow. But it really just depends. I've done what I can and shot a good score, and you know, if I go out and try to shoot something similar tomorrow, I don't know if it's going to be quite good enough, but at least I've given myself some hope.

Q. How do you go about turning all that around?
RORY McILROY: It's amazing, I only took two weeks off but it felt like I had not played golf in years on Thursday. It was strange. But it has been nice to sort of figure it out a little bit, play a bit better yesterday. Obviously played much better today.

It just took me a little bit to get going. It's hard to say that you're rusty after having two weeks off when you've played so much this year, but that's seriously how it felt, and each day I just got a little bit better.

Q. Yesterday you said 65 was the target. What's it like to reach that target?
RORY McILROY: It feels good. I wish I had held that putt at the last for 64. I wanted to go out today and shoot a good score. Try to get myself, you know, back into the tournament somewhat. I think if I went out tomorrow and shot a similar score, I don't think I'd be too far away from the winning number. Obviously depends what the conditions are like today for the guys out there.

But yeah, I did what I could. I played much better than I did the first couple days, and yeah, just feels good to hit some better shots and roll in a few putts.

Q. Depending on the conditions this afternoon, how far back is too far back going into Sunday?
RORY McILROY: I've got off to a decent start the last three days. I was 2-under through four yesterday; I was 3-under through seven on Thursday. I was 3-under through four again today.

So even if I am seven, eight shots back and I get off to a decent start, you never know. But at the same time, I'm a realist and I know I won from seven back a few years ago, and I feel like that's something that happens maybe once in your career. Maybe try to make it twice. At least I'm moving in the right direction, which is the main thing.

Q. You've talked all season long about focusing on the process and not so much the outcome.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I just figured it out a little bit. I obviously didn't play very well the first day. Got a little bit better yesterday. Sort of hung in there in tougher conditions. Made the most of the better conditions we had this morning. So look, I felt sort of rusty that first day for some reason. It's not as if I haven't played a lot of golf this year, but it just -- you know, two weeks off and not being on a golf course, it's a little different. To figure it out a little bit the last two days and shoot good scores, it is pleasing.

Q. What's been the difference the last couple days?
RORY McILROY: I think just getting back into the routine. Getting back into seeing shots a little bit better. Thinking a little better out there, and I didn't hit as many wild ones yesterday or today. So I think that's been the key. Just getting the ball in play. Not putting yourself in positions where you're making life difficult for yourself. Yeah, it's been a nice progression. Obviously got better every day and it would be nice to just get a little bit better tomorrow, as well.

Q. To be fair, looked like at one stage you may miss the cut; five years ago you were seven off the lead going into the final round?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'll go out and give it a go. I'll go out and try to shoot a similar score to what I did today and see where that leaves me. I can only do what I can. Whatever the guys do out there this afternoon, and no matter if I'm five back or seven back or ten back, my mind-set is the same. I've just got to go out and shoot a good score tomorrow. You know, I was never thinking about winning this tournament after the first day, anyway, so I guess to put myself in a position where it's at least a faint hope, it's a good thing.

Q. That was much better out there.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was. I've actually started every round well. I was 3-under after seven on Thursday. I was a couple under after four yesterday. I was 3-under through four today. So the starts have been good. It's just that middle part of the round that I've let get away from me the last couple days, and today I didn't. I hung in there. I made some good pars when I may be put myself out of position. And then I took advantage of most of the par 5s which was good.

So yeah, it was much better, and you know, going out on a Saturday morning, it's not the position you want to be in. But it was a beautiful morning. Great conditions. The perfect time to shoot a low one.

Q. What was different in that middle part of the round today? Was it something that you felt physically better or was it a mental thing?
RORY McILROY: I think a bit of both. I think that the two go hand in hand. If physically, you feel a bit better about what you're doing in your golf swing, then mentally it makes it easier to commit to hitting a shot and all that stuff. I think a little bit of both. I felt a bit more comfortable with my swing yesterday and I feel even more comfortable with it today and hopefully, you know, that trend continues into tomorrow also.

Q. You knew you had to go low today to give yourself a chance. Do you think you've done enough to be in with a shout again tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: I'll have to wait and see. I saw Jon Rahm just birdied the first. He's already six ahead of me. So we'll see. All I can do is go out there and try to shoot another good one. Guys might get a few too many shots ahead that I can really mount a charge, but we'll see. It all depends on them and I'm happy with my day's work and I'll go back to the hotel now and probably take a nap and rest up for tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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