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October 2, 2009

Rory McIlroy


SCOTT CROCKETT: Thanks for coming in and joining us, as always, and many congratulations on another very good day and a good finish around St. Andrews. Talk about that finish. That's one to remember.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, on 16, I 3-putted for my first bogey of the day and going onto 17 tee, Dad same to me and said, "You've finished 3-3 here before, so why don't do you it again." I was able to do it. Hit a great 7-iron into 17 to 12 feet and was able to hole it which was nice. I've never driven the 18th green before so it was nice to got one on to the green finally. Got a good bounce.
Yeah, it was a great way to finish the round and I'm very pleased to be at 11-under.
SCOTT CROCKETT: The finish was great, but it's pushed you into a share of the lead. Must have made you feel very good.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it did. The last couple of months, I've just played really, really solid golf. I've always seemed to be up there and especially with my dad with me this week, it's a little more relaxed and I can play and free-wheel, and I think that's why I've started so well.
SCOTT CROCKETT: How is he enjoying it?
RORY McILROY: Oh, he's loving it. He's been great. He's helped me twice a day, so if we want to win the team event, he's going to have to chip-in a little more. Unless I can do something very special.
But he's really enjoying it. And we are just having a great time on the golf course.

Q. If you were to win the title yourself, and if you or your dad were to win the Pro-Am, who would like it more?
RORY McILROY: I would obviously be very happy to win the title, but even if -- just to walk up the 18th on the last day with my dad would be pretty special, so I've got to -- I think we are lying 13th in teams at the minute. So we need a good one tomorrow to guarantee top 20 so we can both play on Sunday.

Q. How many times have you played the 17th now in competition, just twice before today?
RORY McILROY: I've played it three times in the St. Andrews Links, and this is my third Dunhill. So that's three, five, seven -- eight times in competition.

Q. Do you know what you are for the hole, any nightmares?
RORY McILROY: Probably under par for it. I'm probably a couple under par for it. I didn't birdie it last year. Obviously birdied it the year before. Birdied it today. And I might have birdied it in the St. Andrews Links, as well.

Q. Is it a hole that suits your eye, given the toughness of the hole?
RORY McILROY: It's a bit weird hitting over a hotel but apart from that, actually I thought I hit it a little too far right today and I had a perfect line going to the pin. I just hung on to the right side of the fairway, you know, which really opened up the green for me. I was hitting straight down the pin.
I like to draw the ball and the preferred shot into that green is a draw, so it's probably -- you know, the whole golf course suits my eye. I just feel very comfortable on it.

Q. Can you remember any particular memories that stand out playing golf with your dad when you were real young and if you ever thought one day the two of you would you be walking down the 18th at St. Andrews together?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I don't -- he'll probably hate me saying this, but when I was about 14, I remember playing in my match at Holywood and I remember missing a couple of putts on purpose because I was feeling sorry for him because I was beating him so bad. (Laughter) I remember he came over to me and he said, "You missed that one on purpose."
"Yeah, sort of, I didn't want to beat you too badly."
Yeah, to think that I wouldn't have thought a few years ago, I'd be able to walk up the 18th hole at St. Andrews with him in this big of a tournament, it's incredible how the last four or five years have went.
It's fantastic, and as I say, we are having great fun out there and we are just really enjoying ourselves. We haven't played much golf together in the last couple of years, and obviously with me playing and travelling and stuff, so it is nice to just get out on the course again with him.

Q. Sort of similar question to you, but when is the last time you and your dad had so much fun like away from the golf course, not playing golf?
RORY McILROY: We all enjoy ourselves whenever it's a tournament or whatever. The Masters this year was great for all of us. The whole family really enjoyed it. And yeah, I mean, he loves coming to golf tournaments just to watch, just to be a spectator. I think he really enjoys that. Yeah, it's great that he's able to do it, as well, obviously play this week, and travel around with me. It's good.

Q. Has he done enough to warrant being a partner again next year?
RORY McILROY: Definitely, yeah, if Mr. Rupert let's me take him as a partner again, I'd definitely have him, yeah.

Q. How do you explain that you're a much stronger player mentally?
RORY McILROY: I think it's come from experience, growing up, maturing. When I was younger I used to be a little bit bad-tempered and I used to let things get to me. But as I've got a little older -- I'm not saying I'm old by any stretch -- it does help. It relaxes me, definitely.
When you're relaxed on the golf course, it's easier for you to focus in on your target and you're not thinking about anything else, yeah.

Q. Being calm, especially at the weekend with so much riding on it at this moment, you can go obviously well clear on The Race to Dubai; playing with your dad, will that be a great help? Can you block that off and think about other things?
RORY McILROY: I think it will be a great distraction playing with my dad. I think it will be an advantage, yeah, because I won't be thinking about Race to Dubai or -- in a way, you're not really thinking -- obviously you're thinking about your tournament and you're thinking about trying to do as best you can, but you also are trying to play well for him in a way.
So yeah, I think it will help me having him alongside me, because it can just take my mind off things in between shots.

Q. In some respects if you do get into that situation, is there a bit more pressure on your dad? I don't know how he kind of reacts when you're in contention, keeping his own emotions.
RORY McILROY: He's fine. He's completely fine. Or he seems to be anyway. Every time I'm in contention and he's outside the ropes, he seems to not really care, which is a great thing. As I say if I did get into serious contention this week, it would definitely help if my dad was by my side.

Q. Just a question about Richie Ramsay who is sitting level with you at the top of the leaderboard at the minute. You know him well from amateur golf. Are you pleased to see one of your peers as an amateur come through and doing well, and how do you see him as a competitor the next couple of days?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, Richie is a great player. This is his first season out on The European Tour and he's done pretty well for the first season. He still needs a little bit to keep his card, but he's moving in the right direction this week. He's a very tough competitor. You don't win a U.S. Amateur if you're not a very, very good player.
Richie has grown up on links obviously at Aberdeen and whatever. I think he will be pretty strong the next couple of days, and I would expect him to be right up there by the end of the tournament.

Q. Have you eagled the 5th before and what you did for that?
RORY McILROY: I'm not sure. I don't think so. Actually not the best drive, didn't strike it well, and I had 250 -- or I think I had 255 pin and hit a 5-wood to 12 feet and held it.

Q. Presuming the better you play around here at the moment, spins off next year for The Open, the confidence?
RORY McILROY: It might be because I've never really -- I've shot really good scores around here, but when I stands up on the first tee here, it fills me with confidence because I know that I've played so well around here before.
It's just a golf course that I'm very comfortable on, and obviously it will play a lot different during The Open week. It will get very firm and very fast. But it is a tournament next year that I'm really looking forward to.

Q. Another guy who seems to like this course pretty well is Tiger Woods, he's won the last two Opens here, you'll be taking him on presumably; what do you think about that?
RORY McILROY: It's the sort of golf course that you have to -- you sort of grow to like it and to know it.
The first time I played it, I wasn't that keen. But then the more you play it, the more fun you have on it. You know, yeah, I mean, you can hit it left around here all day and you're okay, so that's another thing that's in my favour because I hit a draw. A draw around this golf course is never going to do you any harm.
But yeah, I think because it's St. Andrews, it's the home of golf, you get such a buzz standing on the first tee. Even walking around the town this, place is very, very special and it's one of my favourite places in the world.

Q. Would you like to play more links golf on the Tour, and of these three courses, which do you like most?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think it would be good to play more links golf. We have only really got two or three tournaments, obviously Irish Open was a links golf course this year and the Open and this event. It would be good to play a bit more links golf. But you know, the way things are nowadays, there's only so many events that you can hold in Great Britain.
I think St. Andrews is definitely my favourite. I've had bit of success at Carnoustie during The Open in 2007, and I shot a couple of nice scores around Kingsbarns. St. Andrews and Augusta National are my two favourite golf courses in the world.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Rory, thanks, as always. Good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts

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