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September 23, 2009

Rory McIlroy


STEVE TODD: Rory, your first appearance in the Vivendi Trophy. Thanks for coming in. Just if you could start with your thoughts on this week.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'm actually very excited to play this week. Firstly, because it's going to be my first team event as a professional. And secondly, because I'm really looking forward to playing under Paul McGinley. I think he'll be a great captain. He's very passionate. He's very excited about what he's doing this week. Very organised. So I think it will be great to play under his leadership. And obviously the Great Britain and Ireland team is probably a little weaker than it could be, but you know, we are probably going into this week as underdogs, and you know, it's not a bad thing. We will try and play our best to putt it a game up against the Europeans.
STEVE TODD: A different challenge for you this week, match play.
STEVE TODD: Obviously done well in Arizona this year and your history of match play; is it something you enjoy?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I love match play. Especially you go out there, it's a bit different than fourballs and foursomes. Singles match play is great because you're going to head-to-head with a guy, and I mean, it doesn't matter if you make a few mistakes here and there, because you can always make it up with a few birdies.
I love match play. I feel as if that style, or that style of golf, that form, that style, sort of suits my game. Sort of you can go for a lot more pins. You can be a bit more aggressive. That should be good, and I love match play. I think in Arizona this year, as you said, I'm playing again in October down in Finca, so I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Can you just talk us through the pros and cons and the discussions you would have had with your management, as I'm sure most players did, whether they were going to play this week or not, what was for playing or what was against playing?
RORY McILROY: I never had a discussion. I with a always going to play if I made the team; for the main reason being I wanted to play under Paul, because Paul has been -- he's been great for me the first couple of years I've been out on Tour. He approached me earlier on in the year saying, I think he approached me at Wentworth, and said if you're available, would you play, and definitely, I would love to play if you were the captain. That's one of the reasons I played.
It's a great experience, as well. It's my first team event as a pro, and the more things like this that I can get before playing in The Ryder Cup or whatever, it will stand me in good stead for tournaments like that.

Q. Have you had team discussions yet? Have we reached that point in week?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, we had a really good one yesterday lunchtime. Paul took us through his opinions on how he felt we should approach the week. You know, obviously he's had a lot of good experiences in team events. You know, we played at The Belfry obviously and Oakland Hills and one other --

Q. K Club.
RORY McILROY: Oh, yeah, K Club. So he's won three Ryder Cups. So I think he know what he's doing. I think he's got a lot of good ideas about teach Match Play, and we had a really good discussion yesterday, yesterday afternoon about it.

Q. And he's gone around asking people who they want to play with?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, he's definitely asked me, who I think my game would suit playing with, and I think he's probably done the same with everyone else.

Q. Do you think it's more of a dry run for Paul in terms of Ryder Cup Captaincy than it is in terms of playing Ryder Cup?
RORY McILROY: I think it's a bit of both to be honest. It's great that Monty is here this week. He can keep an eye on all of us. Especially Thomas and Paul who, hopefully will be Ryder Cup Captains in the future.
But yeah, I think it's a bit of a -- you know, obviously there's a few players here that have played Ryder Cup already that are playing this week. But there's a lot of young guys playing, myself, Chris Wood, Alvaro, there's Nick Dougherty, there's a lot of guys that haven't played a Ryder Cup before that I think will really benefit from this week.

Q. Given your own excitement of wanting to play in this event, how disappointing was it when you saw that the team was a little weak, as you said?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's a good thing and it's a bad thing, because you'd rather have guys on the team that were hungry to go out and do well rather than guys just showing up because they thought it was the right thing to do.
So in that way, I think it's a great opportunity for guys like Rocky and Web and Anthony Wall who might not have had this chance. I'm sure they are really excited to play and really want to win points for the team. You know, that's always better than having somebody who is here just for the sake of it.

Q. It took us by surprise when you accepted, just because of the comments earlier in the year about the exhibition and all of that; have you revised your opinion?
RORY McILROY: You know, it's hard to -- whenever you're on Tour or so enthralled in your own game, and a question like that comes up, you're sort of -- I always say what I'm thinking at that stage. My mind wasn't completely on team golf at that stage. I was trying to play for my own and trying to concentrate on my own game, and that's sort of why it came out the way it did.
But yeah, I mean, when you get into weeks like this, you realize how special team golf is. You know, you're with a group of guys the whole week, it's a lot of fun, and you know, you want to do your best for them as well as do your best for yourself.
So, yeah in, that way, when you do play a team event again, you do realize how good it is and how much more of it that you do want to play.

Q. So this has wetted your appetite for Ryder Cup?
RORY McILROY: Definitely, and it hasn't even started yet. The whole team atmosphere is great. You do get with a group of guys, you go out for dinner, you have a great laugh, and that's what it should be about. I think everyone should enjoy the week.

Q. If you had the choice of somebody to play in the singles, who would it be from their side?
RORY McILROY: Stenson.

Q. Why?
RORY McILROY: He's the highest-ranked player.

Q. Do you see him as your sort of main rival?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, I remember going out in the third round in Dubai this year. I think I was one shot ahead, maybe two shots ahead of Henrik at that stage and it was sort of like, I'm going to have a tough task, Henrik has done this before. I tried really, really hard and I think I beat him by quite a few shots; I think I beat him by five or six shots.
I don't know. I just feel he's the biggest player on their team. He's the highest-ranked European player, so that's why I'd like to play him. I'd like to go and try and beat the strongest player that they have (shrugging shoulders).

Q. And you're aware you are the highest-ranked player?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, by one or two shots from Ross Fisher. So it will be a good match.

Q. I'm not going to ask you to name them but your best guest how many players you think are on show this week that will be on show at The Ryder Cup? Go on, name them.
RORY McILROY: I'll say one (pointing to himself). (Laughter).
I'd say there could be half The Ryder Cup Team here this week, definitely.

Q. We're all hoping Seve turns up on Sunday. Can you just say what it would mean?
RORY McILROY: It would mean -- it would mean an awful lot to all of us to see Seve here. I've never met him before. I've never spoken to him. So it would be a pretty special time and a special place to meet him, you know, at his own event.
And you know, he sent Paul a letter, or an e-mail yesterday, and he read it out in the rules meeting to all of the players, Great Britain and Ireland and European. And it was quite a sort of moving letter.
So you know, when he said just after having his second radio therapy, so he says he's feeling quite tired all the time and feeling quite weak, but he's trying to get through it. I think it totally depends how he feels this week and at the weekend if he's willing to travel or not. But it would be great to see him. It would be great to see him on Sunday.
You know, I think everyone, not just the players, but all of the people will be here watching and the press and the media and everyone. I think it would be very special if he was able to come.

Q. Can you remember a couple of the highlights of that letter that was read out, any particular lines stick in your head?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, there was a bit right at the very end where he said, "It seemed like only yesterday when I came on Tour. It went so quickly and it seems like it was just yesterday." And he just said, "Make the most of it, enjoy your time out here, because it doesn't last for very long." That was one of the main things that I remember from yesterday.

Q. Presumably, it's strange to us, but because of your age, you don't really have memories of Seve.
RORY McILROY: I don't really have them. Most of the memories -- I remember him at Valderrama in The Ryder Cup trying to play everyone's shots for them. It was quite funny. He was a very hands-on sort of Ryder Cup Captain. But I don't really have many memories of him. I remember him -- the only memories I have of him are on links courses. I remember him playing in the Opens and winning the Opens. But I've never really seen any other footage, rather than him playing in The Open Championship; Lytham, Birkdale.

Q. You've never seen it wind it at the yanks?
RORY McILROY: No, never, not really. I remember him and Olazábal playing in The Ryder Cup once in the green -- like that sort of color shirt, with the sort of big collars and everything. That must have been mid 80s, was it, something like that. Given the little fist pump. He was my dad's hero.
STEVE TODD: Thanks a lot. Good luck this week.

End of FastScripts

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