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November 14, 2020

Rory McIlroy

Augusta, Georgia

Q. Was it quicker or maybe a lot quicker?
RORY McILROY: A little bit quicker. It was where I left my putt, the first two feet of it was uphill, and then it went over the crest and started going down, so you had to give it enough speed to at least get it up and over there, and then it just got away from me a little bit. But the greens are getting quicker. Yeah, you've got to think about where you're leaving it. You're almost wanting to leave it above the hole the first two days, and now you've got to think about leaving it below the hole and giving yourself some better looks.

Q. You had that Thursday where‑the‑hell‑did‑that‑round‑come‑from round; how would you assess where you've taken off from there, particularly today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, 11‑under for the last two days, I think that sort of speaks for itself. The good golf was in there, I just didn't allow myself to play that way on the first 18 holes. This course can do that. This course can make you a little bit careful and a little bit tentative at times. I've always said I play my best golf when I'm trusting and freer, and I've been a lot freer over the last 36 holes.

Q. Do you think you're too far back?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, what's DJ, 14? If he just plays his game, he's going to get to at least 16. Yeah, eight shots, being a realist here, I just need to go out and shoot a good one tomorrow and see where it puts me, but I have zero thoughts about winning this golf tournament right now.

Q. When you have a round with Bernhard Langer and he's a past champion, is that one of those reminders what it means to have this green jacket, and what do you make of what he's done?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, it's‑‑ I try to think about what scores I would shoot if I was hitting it where he hit it. Honestly it's like me playing an 8,500 yard golf course. That's what it's like. It's so impressive, just the way he methodically plots his way around and gets it up‑and‑down when he needs to. It's really cool to watch. And yeah, I wish in 30 years' time I'm back here doing the exact same thing. Hopefully hit it a little longer, but...

Q. We usually ask you in terms of the Career Grand Slam, but there's other lifelong benefits of winning here, right, something like that?
RORY McILROY: Oh, yeah, of course. I mean, it's the‑‑ I think it's the Masters and Augusta National; it's some of the coolest traditions in our game. Of course you want to be part of that for the rest of your life if you can.
And yeah, look, winning Augusta or winning the Masters would be cool, winning the Grand Slam would be cool, and there's a lot of great things that come along with that, but at the end of the day you have to try to put‑‑ simplify it as much as you can, and it's just a golf tournament, and you're playing against guys you see every week. It shouldn't be that different.

Q. He was just talking about being 40 to 100 yards behind you. Was there any chip shot during the round‑‑
RORY McILROY: I'd like to know where the 40 was.

Q. Ouch.
RORY McILROY: (Laughing) No, there's no chat about that. He just‑‑ he was saying at the Champions Dinner, some of the past champions, how long the golf course is playing because it's been so soft, himself and even someone like a Freddy Couples. I think it just shows you where the game is. Someone like a Freddy Couples who was the longest in his day, he's sort of talking about how long the golf course is nowadays. That's just where the game is.

Q. When you say you're thinking zero chance about winning the golf tournament tournament, what do you think about when you go out there and do you just sort of attack‑‑
RORY McILROY: Just try to play a good round of golf. Just try to do the same thing I've done the last couple of days, go out and try to hit every fairway, try to hit every green, try to make a birdie on every hole if you can. You're just trying to shoot the best possible score. That's the way to win golf tournaments is to just keep doing that day after day. That's what I'm going to try to do.
As I said, I think I've left myself too far back after the bad first day, but you know, I'll go and give it a good effort tomorrow and see where that leaves me.

Q. After three days, what do you think tomorrow is going to be like, specifically without fans?
RORY McILROY: I mean, just more of the same. I think you see the final couple of groups, and even the marquee groups over the first couple of days, they had some members with them, members of the media, and so there's a little bit of an atmosphere out there. It's not much, but it's better than nothing.
I think it'll be more of the same. We're going to tee off early again, I think, to get in before football, and it'll be a pretty similar‑‑ it'll be a similar feeling to what it was last year in terms of the time, just no people.

Q. Do you think you'll look at the first 18, when it's all said and done, with regret?
RORY McILROY: I try to view everything as a learning experience, but yeah, I'll look back at that and rue some of the shots that I hit and some of the thought processes I had and just try to learn from it and be better the next time.

Q. Was it the morning restart that bothers you more about the first round than the first day?
RORY McILROY: Yeah. Yeah. It was those last nine holes. Just trying to get in under par and do the complete opposite. That was the tough part.

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