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March 12, 2020

Rory McIlroy

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Q. Did you get tested?
RORY McILROY: Yeah I could have been here until 9 p.m.

Q. Tested for performance enhancing drugs?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, yeah. I made three birdies and they're like, we better test him.

Q. Were you surprised by this? Did you see it coming?
RORY McILROY: Not that surprising. I think when you look at Europe and they, you see what they have done there, especially Italy, obviously the northern part was on lockdown earlier this week and then obviously now it's all of Italy. Every school and university has been shut in Ireland. So not surprising, given what's happened over there. I think it's just to try to curtail this and try to stop it spreading. I thought it was the right move.

I watched Jay's press conference today. He made some very, very good points, and look, it will be a little strange to play here over the next few days with no fans, but that's what we have to do to try to, I guess, do our bit in terms of trying to stop the spread and trying to keep everyone healthy.

Q. Did you consider just shutting down to do your bit?
RORY McILROY: I guess that's not my decision to make. So again, the PGA TOUR are liaising with the best health officials and CDC and WHO, whoever it is that they're dealing with, and if they think that it's safe for play to go ahead but with no spectators, then I guess who am I to say any different.

Q. Given what was going on, what was the vibe like?
RORY McILROY: It was okay. Maybe a little flat at the beginning. The announcement came right on noon and we had to go sort of warmup and play, but I mean, for the most part it felt like a normal day.

Q. Were you surprised they let fans on the golf course today?
RORY McILROY: I think if it had have been -- yeah, I mean, if it had have been earlier I think it would have been, they probably wouldn't have let them in. But because all the fans were already here, I don't think there's much they could have done about that. I don't know. So they at least they got to enjoy themselves for one day and yeah, now it's going to look a little different.

Q. What do you think it's going to be like now without that support and emotion, especially when you come down the stretch?
RORY McILROY: Just got to make that -- I guess I got to get there first, but I think it's not the first time we haven't played with -- Japan we did it a few months ago, I think we did it at Aronimink a couple years ago in that playoff event. I know they did it at Congressional one year as well. So it's not as if we haven't done that before, but just to have it through Texas I guess now, Valero is where they're going to keep fans away, and it will -- it could become the new norm, who knows. It's going to get worse before it gets better. You look at the trends and you look at everything that's happening across the rest of the world, it's in its infancy here in the United States, and yeah, it's going to get worse before it gets better, so I mean, I think it's a hard one because you look at volunteers out here and a lot of volunteers are in their 60s and 70's and retired and you don't want someone that's got the virus that passes it on to them and then they're susceptible, and for me, like I, my mother's got respiratory issues and I certainly don't want to get something and pass it on to her and all of a sudden there's some sort of complication.

So it's scary time, and I think that the PGA TOUR have made a step in the right direction and I think we just have to play it by ear and take it day by day, and if someone said to me yesterday, today's overreaction could look like tomorrow's underreaction. So just got to take it day by day and see where this thing goes.

Q. Have you given any thought to Augusta?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I have, a little bit. I don't see how they can let spectators in if they do play it at this point.

Q. We got these guys coming over from Europe, maybe some of the European guys coming over for Match Play?
RORY McILROY: It's unfortunate. I asked Bernd Wiesberger that this afternoon, do you -- does he -- where does he go from here? Does he fly home, does he fly to Dubai, does he go through the U.K. to get back into here? I don't know how that all works. I think it's unfortunate and it's unfair, but again, this country has to take precautions and make sure that this virus isn't coming in from the outside.

Q. You were a little on the ropes after the double on 15. Talk about the three birdies coming in and what that does for you.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that was nice. We had a bit of a wait on the 16th tee for me to sort of gather my thoughts, and I said to Harry actually while we were waiting, I've birdied the last three holes here to make the cut back in 2014 and ended up finishing in the top 10 after that, so I don't know, just that little memory of doing that a few years ago sort of sparked a few good swings and a couple of nice putts at the end, and it's definitely something to build on going into tomorrow morning. It's a big difference between being 3-over par and even par and hopefully we can get the benign conditions that the guys got this morning and better greens, and starting on the back nine, 11 and 12 are chances, and all of a sudden you have some momentum and you're right back in the golf tournament.

Q. Do you think the fact that golf is the only sport that's going to be played might be a little bit of relief for some people?
RORY McILROY: Well let's just hope that nothing happens to our sport that we need to shut it down, as well, but again, I think everyone's just taking it day by day and we'll see what happens.

Q. You always have big galleries; how different will it be tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: It is, it's going to, look, it is, it's going to be different, yeah, maybe, I don't, I'll be, I'll be able to tell you a little bit better tomorrow after playing the round, but it hasn't -- the last two times that we have played without spectators it hasn't affected me, I've played well both times, so yeah, I think we probably just going to have to focus and concentrate a little bit more.

Q. What happens if one player, one caddie gets the virus?
RORY McILROY: We need to shut it down then. Yeah, one, I mean, and that's the thing, more than anything else, we need to get, everyone needs to get tested. I don't know, I saw that obviously there's commercial labs now are testing at some capacity, I guess, but I think for us to keep playing on TOUR, we all the TOUR players and people that are involved need to get tested and make sure that no one's got it, because obviously everyone knows you can have it and not have symptoms and pass it on to someone that's more susceptible to getting very ill from it.

Q. Will you do it?

Q. When?
RORY McILROY: Next week when I'm home.

Q. (No Microphone.)

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