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June 20, 2020

Rory McIlroy

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Q. Rory, another solid driving the ball day. Is it a combination of learning the golf course a little bit and driving the ball better, or is it one or the other?
RORY McILROY: It's a little bit of both for sure. I think being more comfortable with my lines off tees and the sort of shots that I'm trying to hit off the tees. I think on Thursday there was a few tee shots where I was caught in two minds about what I wanted to do, where I've been a little more decisive and a little more committed off the tee the last two days, and I've been able to hit the ball on the fairway much more. From there, whatever, I'm 11 under par the last two days by doing that.

Yeah, much better. I need to try to keep doing that, same game plan. My irons have been feeling pretty good. My wedges have felt pretty good. So just keep hitting it in the fairways, and I'll be able to give myself birdie chances from there.

Q. You compared this to TPC Sawgrass and the learning curve you needed there. Is there something specific about Pete Dye that takes a while to pick up on?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, there has been for me over the years anyway. First few times I've played Pete Dye courses, I've really just struggled to -- I'm a very visual person. So the visual aspect of it, you know, he makes tee shots visually demanding and intimidating. I felt that at Sawgrass the first few times that I played.

The last two days here, the first two times I've shot under par on this golf course, so it's taken a while to learn it. Yeah, Whistling Straits, for example, the same thing. So, yeah, just playing the course a bit more and getting more comfortable with lines and seeing your shots a bit better. Yeah, the more you play Pete Dye golf courses, the more you get comfortable on them.

Q. Is the atmosphere among players any different today now that there's been a positive test? Obviously, we knew this was a likelihood, but does the reality of it change anything?
RORY McILROY: I don't think so. I think we were -- starting back up, I think people were -- they weren't naive. I think just statistically and looking at the numbers, someone was going to get it, and even being as careful as you can be, things happen, and you pick it up from somewhere.

So, yeah, I think -- you know, that's the -- we're still in the middle of a pandemic. I think we've done really well to start golf again and get back up and play golf tournaments. I don't think anyone was blind to the fact that someone could catch the virus, and it's a shame that Nick did. But as I said last night, it's one case, and as long as it's contained to that and we move forward, we can keep playing.

Q. There seemed a little bit of dismay or concern over the fact that someone who was showing or exhibiting symptoms was actually here yesterday. Obviously, that's dicey because, if he doesn't end up having it, you're affecting his ability to then go out and play. If you keep him from here. Could you see an instance where guys wouldn't report symptoms if that became the case?
RORY McILROY: No, I don't think so. I hope not because it's not about yourself, right? This virus isn't about -- you know, most people that get it that are healthy are going to recover from it and be okay, but it's the people that you can infect. That's the big risk. I'd like not to think that people, if they were symptomatic, that they wouldn't report.

Nick said the thing that got him yesterday morning was he wears a WHOOP strap. A lot of us, we wear these WHOOP straps on the wrist or on the biceps. One of the big telltale signs that they've found over the last few weeks, they've done studies where, if your respiratory rate goes up during the night by more than two breaths per minute, that's sort of a tell tale sign that you might have something. So it was actually his WHOOP that told him his respiratory rate went up, and that's why he thought maybe I could have it.

There's a lot of guys on TOUR now wearing the WHOOP. That's one of the first things -- you know, I looked at mine this morning just to see what my respiratory rate was and make sure it was okay, and you go from there.

Q. Because you had sort of been in contact with him, did you get a test last night?
RORY McILROY: No, I didn't. I didn't feel like I was in close enough proximity, and I wasn't feeling any symptoms. I feel totally fine. No, I saw him on the putting green, and we kept our distance, and that was it.

Q. If I could just ask, your bubble this week, I asked Brooks yesterday, his chef is here, and he actually brought his own gym. Have you gone to extremes to create your own bubble?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I've inquired the last two weeks about working out somewhere, but I still haven't felt comfortable with it. I brought a gym bag with me, a bunch of bands and some jump ropes and some stuff to sort of keep me going. Yeah, I've done all my workouts at home. Harry and I -- Harry, obviously, quarantined at our house for two weeks before we came out on the road. It's just been us two in the houses the last couple of weeks. It will be the same again next week.

We've been doing the same thing, eating in the house as much as we can or eating at the clubhouse. We haven't been going out, haven't been doing anything. The only time that we go out if it's it at the start of the week to get groceries from the supermarket, and that's it.

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