August 7, 2020
San Francisco, California, USA
Harding Park Golf Club
JOHN DEVER: Good afternoon. Welcome back to the 2020 PGA Championship here at TPC Harding Park. Pleased to be joined by Rory McIlroy, who posted a second round 69. He is 1-under here at the 36-hole mark.
Rory, a lot of birdies today. One unfortunate hole. Overall how was your round today?
RORY McILROY: You know, better. I got off to the perfect start birdieing the first hole, and I hit some loose shots after that on 3, on 4, on 5, a bad drive. I think what turned it around, I hit a good drive on 7 and made birdie from there, and then made birdie on 8 and 9, the two toughest holes on the course. That gave me a nice little bit of momentum going into the back nine.
Then, you know, played the 10th hole well, and was feeling good, 3-under through 11, and then that 7 just sort of stopped me in my tracks a bit. From there, when you're 3-under par, especially with the way the leaderboard is looking, you're thinking, okay, get another couple and you're right into this tournament going into the weekend and all of a sudden you make triple and you're like, I just need to be here for the weekend. It went from thinking I'm right on the cusp of getting into contention to just making the cut.
I was happy how I responded after that 7 and made a birdie coming in and played pretty solid, and that's all I could really ask of myself after that.
Q. On No. 3, your ball was stepped on?
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
Q. And you placed it and it was too good; you elected to place it down?
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
Q. What was your thinking there?
RORY McILROY: I just wouldn't have felt comfortable. I placed it, and the rule is try to replicate the lie. No one really knew what the lie was, but if everyone is going around looking for it, it obviously wasn't too good. So I placed it, I was like, that just doesn't look right to me. So I just placed it down a little bit and sort of -- yeah.
You know, at the end of the day, golf is a game of integrity and I never try to get away with anything out there. I'd rather be on the wrong end of the rules rather than on the right end because as golfers, that's just what we believe.
Yeah, I would have felt pretty wrong if I had of taken a lie that was maybe a little better than what it was previously.
Q. I know 7 is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth, but that birdie run, does that give you confidence going into the weekend knowing you can flip it around that quickly?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that was nice, especially the holes that I did birdie. 8 and 9, especially, I hit a really nice 4-iron into the 8th hole, and to make it through there is really good, and to birdie 9, as well, two really tough holes. I took care of the easier holes on the course. The first hole, you know, I birdied one of the par 5s, birdied 16 coming in.
So there is birdies out there, but as you saw on 12, you know, danger isn't that far away, but it was nice to see some birdies because even last week at Memphis, there was a lot of pars, a lot of sort of not really getting on runs, and it was nice to get on a little run like that today.
Q. How bad was that lie on 12, and then from there what happened?
RORY McILROY: It wasn't that -- it didn't look that bad. I've had worse this week, and been able to hit better shots from them.
So it was okay. If anything, I really tried to get on my left side with those shots, and usually the bad one squeezes right rather than goes left on me. So I've had a couple this week that have sort of squeezed out to the right, so I was maybe just guarding against that and clubface just turned over.
But that wasn't really the problem. I mean, I guess taking 4 from over the back of that green, that was the real -- that's unacceptable, really, and that was really the cause of the 7.
But out of position off the tee. You miss -- I've missed that fairway the last two days in a row and I've paid for it. I've played it in 4-over par.
Q. You've played with Tiger many times now. Is it a little easier to deal with without the commotion?
RORY McILROY: 100 percent. (Laughter.) It's like, it's so much easier.
Yeah, I'm happy to be drawn with him every week until fans come back.
But yeah, like you can see, even the 12th hole, the tee box there alongside the road, Tiger gets on the tee and everyone goes crazy and you have to wait for them to settle down. The fact that we don't have to deal with that and the fact that he doesn't have to deal with that every week is sort of nice.
But not saying -- I still want crowds to come back and fans. It's much better to play in front of them. But it does make it easier.
Q. Cameron Champ said earlier that he believed that Tony Finau was by far the longest driver on Tour. Wondering your take on the 10 or 12 statistically longest drivers went out to a range and really bashed away, who do you think is the longest?
RORY McILROY: I think it would be between Cameron and Tony. They have very easy speed. Even Cameron, I mean, Cameron has such easy speed. He doesn't look like he even swings hard at it and the ball speed is up in the 190s. I think it's between those two guys for sure.
I think there's a couple guys on the Korn Ferry that might compete with them I've heard, but from who I've seen and who I've played with, I think that the two guys that have the most potential to hit it the furthest are Tony and Cameron.
Q. Given three decorated players in that group, all having their own travails, you, Justin and Tiger, what was the conversation like among you guys about how difficult, cold, windy and not as easy as maybe three great players like you could play at Harding Park?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, once Tiger and I got our tee shots off 18, I just gave him a look like, phew, glad that's almost done.
It was tough out there. We all didn't really have our best. We were grinding just to be here for the weekend. But thankfully all three of us made it to the weekend and we all have an opportunity to go out tomorrow and post a low one and get ourselves back in the tournament.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports