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November 21, 2019

Rory McIlroy

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

64 represents your lowest possible score you've shot here. Tell us about it from your point of view.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was great. I started off fast at 4-under through six, 5-under through seven. I held a couple of really good putts starting off but I birdied the two par 5s on the front nine, and did what I needed to do. Then it got a little slow around the sort of start of the back nine, but it was obviously nice to finish the way I did. I hit some really quality shots coming in which gives me a lot confidence going into the next few days.

Q. You told me earlier in the year, that what you have the quiet spells, you have more patience, was that the case today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, my patience was rewarded. Bogeyed 12. Made a great up-and-down on 13 for par and nearly made a mess of 14 and made par there. I think, you know, maybe in the past going to the 15th tee, I would have been trying to push it a little bit. I just sort of stayed patient. I hit a good drive up 15.

Took advantage of that and hit two solid shots into 16, and yeah, just a little more of a -- you know, still 4-under par. There's a lot of golf left in this golf tournament and not trying to push it too much. It's funny, sort of counterintuitive, the less you try push it, it seems like the lower the scores are.

Q. Describe the second shot to the last.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, honestly it's possibly the best shot I've hit all year. I had 270 -- equivalent 272 to the front, 291 to the pin, sort of back in off the left. Wind was off the left so it was a nice one for me to just aim straight at the pin and know if I hit my little draw it should hold but if it gets going on the wind, obviously the bunker on the right is better than the water on the left. I just flushed it.

When I was over it, it was sort of enough left and I sort of carried my 3-wood off the deck about 280, so it was right on the limit but as soon as I hit it, I knew it was perfect. It was right out of the middle. Great to finish like that, and yeah, it was a great round of golf.

Q. When you returned from the HSBC, your wife had something very special built in your house. Tell us about that?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, so I guess we had just moved into our new house a couple of months ago but we still had not moved everything in, and the trophy cabinet had not been built. Got back from China, walked into our sort of game room and up on the wall were all the trophies and stuff.

Obviously on a high from the win in China was cool, but it's a nice reminder sometimes. I had not even all that stuff had been in storage for a year and a half, so the first time I had seen the Claret Jug and U.S. Open trophy and all that sort of stuff.

It's cool but it's also a great motivator to think, you know, I'm still pretty early in my career and I've done quite a lot but I still want to do so much more.

Q. What a way to finish.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I started great obviously but then yeah the finish was lovely. Finished with four 3s in a row which always does the job around here. Yeah, the two shots into the last were right up there with the two best shots I've hit this year, I would say.

Yeah, look, I'm feeling comfortable with my game. I have done for the last while. I felt like today was just more of the same of how I've been feeling.

Q. What's the conditions with the rain?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I was actually surprised that the course held up very well. The greens were even receptive in the Pro-Am on Tuesday, so they were maybe a little more receptive today. Still you have to hit it on the right side of the hole. The greens are quick and can get away from you a little bit.

Felt as much as it was a great finish, I felt like it was a very patient round of golf and even with the fast start, sort of have to pick your spots around here to be aggressive and I did that well today.

Q. How was the caddie out there today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, great. Worked together well. Yeah, he was brilliant. Really, really good. First day down and no hiccups so far. Hopefully more of the same over the next few days.

The wind was really tricky today, so just trying to stay aware of that. It sort of switched a little bit from northwest to more west the last few holes, and just being mindful of that because it can start to swirl out here. Hitting the ball well. Putting well. Everything is in good shape.

Q. You're no stranger to hitting fine golf shots but that one into the last was right up there. Just talk us through it?
RORY McILROY: I'm looking forward to seeing it on TV later to be fair. It was one of those where if you get it right and you button it, it's going to be perfect. But it was more, I think if the wind had been off the right instead of off the left, I don't know if I had of went for it because I hit a little draw, and the wind is going to hold that up. It was a left-to-right wind.

So I knew the water wasn't really in play. Worst-case scenario it might go in the bunker on the right and that's not a bad leave. There's so much more that goes into these shots than just stepping up and hitting it. If that wind had of been a different direction, I might have laid up and just tried to make a birdie with a wedge. It was a perfect -- it was a good number. It was perfect conditions to step up and hit a good 3-wood.

Q. Once you'd hit it, did you know it was going to be as good as it was?
RORY McILROY: I don't think I'd have said "sit" in the air. As soon as I hit it, I was afraid it might have went a bit long. It was absolutely perfect.

Started off really well. Good two-putt at the second. Nice birdie on the third. Yeah, I mean, I had three pretty severe lipouts on the front nine, as well. Not that I'm complaining, but it was a very solid round of golf. Obviously a great start to the week.

Q. You were talking a few moments ago, but the trophy cabinet at home, that was a nice present to come home to after winning in China.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was. It's sort of the last room that we've been waiting on to get finished in the house. I try not to, people walk into my house, it's not as if they are front and center. But I like to have them out so in a reflective moment, I can go and have a look at all I've achieved on the golf course the last few years. I had not seen them. They were in storage for a year and a half, so just to come back to it, it's really nice. It's a nice reflective moment, but it's also a motivational moment that this is what I can do and I want more of it.

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