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May 20, 2009

Rory McIlroy


GORDON SIMPSON: Well, good morning, and we welcome Rory McIlroy to the BMW PGA Championship.
Rory, you made your debut in this Championship last year, but an awful lot has happened since. How do you feel about your prospects 12 months on?
RORY McILROY: My debut here wasn't the best here. I shot a couple of rounds in the mid 70s and missed the cut.
You know, I'm looking forward to it. There's been a little bit of rain over the weekend, and that will probably make the greens putt a little better, nice and smooth. So I'm looking forward to it. It's nice to come here and not have 40-mile-an-hour winds and rain in your face from last week.
It should be good. I mean, my mom and dad used to bring me over here to watch The World Match Play every year in October, so I've got really good memories of this place and hopefully I can play well this week.
GORDON SIMPSON: And what did you make of the sort of mayhem on Sunday night when Shane won? It was a great thing for the tournament and for Irish golf.
RORY McILROY: It was incredible. The way he slept on the lead for two nights in a row and held his nerve coming down the stretch; it took me three times to sort of make my opportunity to win on The European Tour, and he's done it the first time he's got a sniff.
So it was a remarkable achievement and obviously everyone in Ireland was very happy for him.
GORDON SIMPSON: And he's got a better playoff record than you.
RORY McILROY: He certainly does.

Q. Not another great week last week as far as your own game is concerned. What's wrong with it, or was it the weather?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, actually played okay the first two days. I got the good side of the draw, and I didn't make the most of it. I was 7-under for the first two rounds and I really needed -- you really needed to be double-digits under par to have a chance.
And then at the weekend, I struggled on the greens with the wind and the ball was sort of oscillating a little bit. So didn't make many putts. But I felt as if I hit it better at the weekend, which is a good sign. So hopefully that can carry on through this week.

Q. You said that you used to come over every year. What are your recollections of those events?
RORY McILROY: First year I came over, I remember Sergio kicking the shoe off and hitting the woman. (Laughter) Who won it that year? I think Monty beat O'Meara in the final. I remember Woosie beat Harrington, as well, in one of the finals.
I just remember 36 holes a day, getting up really early, running around twice, and then getting in and being knackered. So it was nice to come over for the week. As I said, I have really good memories of it.

Q. Were you close to the flying shoe?
RORY McILROY: No. We were actually -- we were coming over that day. So the day after, so it was in the newspaper. I remember reading it on the plane.

Q. Has Wentworth lived up to the expectations that you had as a schoolboy? Now you're playing it and now you're on the other side of the ropes.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think the layout is fantastic. It's a great golf course, and you know, it's tree-lined and it's got a lot of definition. It's a really, really great golf course, and I struggled on it last year a little bit with chipping on to the greens and stuff.
I found it a little difficult. But hopefully this year, as I said, a little bit of rain at the weekend, the greens will be a little more consistent. Although it was quite firm and bouncy last year, so they won't be quite as fast this year.

Q. Since your win in Dubai, do you feel there's a lot more pressure on you to perform well every time that you play?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, but it's more pressure that I put on myself rather than because I know I can do it. So whenever I don't do it at a certain week, I'm sort of thinking, well, what went wrong there; why wasn't I in contention.
But golf is a very fickle game. You can come in and out of form very easily, but it's a matter of trying to be as consistent as possible and trying to -- obviously I had a pretty average week last week, and trying to fix the things that went wrong last week and try to put them right this week.

Q. We talked a lot last summer about your putting and your work with Paul Hurrion and haven't seen much written about that lately. Can you assess your putting lately in wake of the work you've done with Paul?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, my pace has got a lot better with my long putts.
The thing about working with Paul is we wanted to know the difference between a good putt and a bad putt, because if I hit a putt and it missed left, I didn't really know if I miss-read it or pulled it. So I've been hitting a lot of putts with my eyes closed, or if I hit a putt that I missed right, just to know the difference. Then it's like if I pulled it a 7-iron, I'll know exactly with a went wrong, but if you pull a putt, you don't really.
So it's just a matter of trying to find out more about my stroke and I'm basically knowing, you know, when I hit a good putt, what the feeling was and then when I hit a bad putt, what I didn't do right.

Q. Is the process ongoing?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's still ongoing. I think it will be ongoing for a long time.

Q. Was not taking up the U.S. Tour card an easy decision, and can you see that changing and what would change it?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I had not planned to take my Tour card up for two or three years. So it was an easy decision in that respect.
But you know what, I never planned on taking my PGA TOUR card up for a while. So I'm very happy in Europe and I'll play my events over here and I'll play the majors and the World Golf Championships and a couple more over there.
I think the way my schedule has worked out this year, it's been perfect. So yeah, I mean, maybe in a few years down the line, I'll take it up, but not for the next couple of years.

Q. And it's more for personal reasons or golfing reasons?
RORY McILROY: Golfing reasons. Yeah, I just think if I -- I think I'm playing 11 events in the U.S., so another four onto that, it's just for scheduling and stuff. I don't want to play 30 events a year and get burned out.

Q. Were you taken aback by the reaction to your comments about the Ryder Cup last week? You were, after all, just voicing an honest opinion.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that's how I feel about the event, you know. But maybe my view will change when I actually play one. I might get excited and nervous; I probably will get excited and nervous on the first tee.
I mean, I've actually read a lot of stuff about it, and I've had a lot of support from it, as well. But it's just my opinion and what I was really trying to say was that my main goal in my career is to win majors and not to win Ryder Cups.
When I was a kid growing up practicing on the putting green, I never had a putt to win The Ryder Cup, I always had a putt to win the Masters or a putt to win the British Open. It's just the way I feel.

Q. Have any of those Ryder Cup players spoken to you since then?
RORY McILROY: No, no, not really. Not at all.

Q. You said people supported your view; can you elaborate?
RORY McILROY: Just 606 on BBC and that sort of stuff going through it. There are a lot of people saying: You're not playing for money in The Ryder Cup and so it's not important. But that's not the reason at all.
Ryder Cup is very important to a lot of people and I'm sure if I play a couple of Ryder Cups, I might have a different view on it.
But all I was trying to say was in my long-term goals in my career, it's not one of the most important.

Q. There are hundreds of kids following John Daly around over this period he's been playing over here. Were you a big Daly fan after he won The Open in '95? What are your thoughts on him now playing over here?
RORY McILROY: I think it's great that he's come over and playing. He's got a few light outfits going on. It's great for The European Tour.
I didn't really remember watching the '95 Open when he won, but I think he's obviously a great character for the game, and I think golf needs characters like that. Hopefully he can play over here a little bit more, and I think it will be great to see him over here.
GORDON SIMPSON: You wouldn't sort of switch into those trousers, would you?

Q. You said you had quite a bit of support of The Ryder Cup, have any of the pros said anything to you about what you've said?
RORY McILROY: No, none of the players have said anything. But I'm going for dinner to Darren Clarke's house tonight, so he might have a couple of words. (Laughter).

Q. Is he the closest you have to a mentor?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, a little bit, I suppose. He sort of points me in the right direction sometimes.

Q. So you can't imagine yourself being captain in 50 years' time then?
RORY McILROY: I don't know, it's a long way. No, I don't think 50 years, no.
I don't know, maybe once I play and hopefully when I play on The Ryder Cup and get taste of it, my views probably will change. You never know. I've never really thought about it.

Q. What did you learn from your experience in the Masters this year as you look towards other majors this season?
RORY McILROY: The Masters was a great experience for me. I was doing very well in the middle of the second round and I had a little blip towards the end.
But the thing about the Masters, anyway, and I've only played a couple of majors, but there's so much going on that you really need to conserve your energy and focus all your energy into playing golf, because you can get sidetracked very easily, and your focus can get taken away from actually playing golf.
They are tough weeks and they are long weeks, but you just have to really, really be focused on what you want to achieve. Basically the thing about majors now is days is you need to grind. You need to grind a score out in major championships and get up-and-down. If you only hit 10 or 11 greens, you have to get up-and-down the seven or eight times that you miss a green.

Q. Just wonder about your experiences of team golf; did you particularly enjoy it? Was the Walker Cup everything you expected it to be or was it an anti-climax?
RORY McILROY: It was a little bit of an anti-climax because we lost. It would have been a lovely way to go out of the amateur game if we had won the Walker Cup.
Yeah, I mean, I've obviously played a lot of amateur golf. I played a lot for Ireland. We won the European Team Championships and we won the St. Andrews Trophy playing for Great Britain and Ireland and played the Eisenhower Trophy down in South Africa.
Yeah, I've had a lot of team golf and I've really enjoyed it and I've made a lot of good friends from it. But at the end of the day, golf is an individual sport and you've got your individual goals.

Q. And you got the biggest satisfaction from individual success in the amateur?
RORY McILROY: Even to win with a team is fantastic and you have a lot of great memories from it. My individual success in golf, yeah, it's a lot more satisfying than a team win.

Q. Have you looked at the latest schedule to see whether you would be available for what is still called the Seve Trophy if you qualify?
RORY McILROY: No, I haven't, actually. I don't know when it is. Yeah, it would be -- yeah, if I was able to do it, it would be a great honour to get on that team.
GORDON SIMPSON: Well, enjoy Darren's home cooking and play well this week.

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