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October 4, 2009

Rory McIlroy


Q. How pleased to finish with 69?
RORY McILROY: Very pleased. I got off to a great start, I eagled the third to go to 2-under through three, but I made three bogeys on the front nine and was quite relieved to see one go in on 9 and shoot even on the front. The back nine was very solid.
I struggled with my pace on the greens all day. I couldn't get used to these greens at all, maybe because they were not cut and they were expecting big winds, which has not really materialised. But I'm happy, I could have been a few better, but I'm still fortunate to be going into tomorrow where I played great at St. Andrews a couple of days ago, so hopefully I can do the same again.
My dad is 50 tomorrow, so it would be a great birthday present tomorrow if he could play 18 holes at the Old Course. We are the first ones in but maybe that birdie putt of his on last was important, we'll see.

Q. You said playing with your dad made you feel more relaxed, is it feeling more intense as the week goes on?
RORY McILROY: Not really. I'm starting to think about the tournament a little more now that I'm right in the thick of things but I'm still trying to help dad as much as possible. It's a lot more relaxed out there than a normal event is, and I think it's good for me.

Q. How special would it be tomorrow, your dad's 50th birthday, St. Andrews, your chance to win a marquee tournament, stuff of teams, isn't it?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, especially we thought we were going to be heading home tonight with the unexpected weather yesterday. It will be great tomorrow and hopefully I can play well again and he can knock a few putts in and we might challenge in the team event, as well.

Q. What were you going to be doing tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: I don't know what the story was. I think mom had something planned but it was a surprise.

Q. How did you spend the rest of yesterday?
RORY McILROY: Nothing. Chilled out. Actually I have a few friends that go to University in Dundee so went over to their place and had dinner, which is good. Apart from that, nothing really that exciting.

Q. Good start.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, made a great three at the third. Hit a driver and a 3-wood up the left and let it feed down a bit where it usually does and held about a 25 -foot putt. If it didn't hit the hole it was going a few feet by, like a lot of them out there today.

Q. Good, strong middle nine, wasn't it, too.
RORY McILROY: The birdie on 9 really helped, and birdied 11 and 12. 9 I hit a drive and a 3-wood about 50 yards short, pitched it up to 12 feet and held it. I actually had really good chances -- well, I made a good save on 10 from the back of the green and hit it to two feet on 11, got an up-and-down out of quite a nasty lie on the bunker on 12 for birdie which was good and had a great chance on 13, as well. Hit it to about eight or ten feet there and wasn't able to make it. And then made another good one on 15 and then 15, 16, 17 were all really, really good saves for pars. And then I had a good chance at last there. It just didn't break as much as I thought it did but I hit a pretty good putt.
69, it's a decent day's work. It not that good here because it's very benign and you know the course is there for the taking. But I'll just have to go out tomorrow and try and shoot something similar to what I did on Friday.

Q. In Dubai you could afford some mistakes but not many tomorrow.
RORY McILROY: I need to go out tomorrow and I need to play well on the front nine, which I have done in the past in St. Andrews, go out in 32 or 31 and really take the tournament by the scruff of the neck. That's what I'll be trying to do.

Q. How would you like to play the last group out with Darren tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it would be good. It would be good fun. It would be great to play with him. Haven't actually played much competitive golf with him to be honest, so it would be good to play with him, especially in the last group if we are in the last group. Obviously in a big tournament like this, it would be good.

Q. Any plans for your mom tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: She's already here. She came in on Wednesday night.

Q. Going to be pretty exciting here tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: It's great, I can't wait.

Q. Chance for second Tour victory.
RORY McILROY: I'll have to play very well to win. It's a very congested leaderboard and I'm sure someone will come out and shoot a 66 out of that pack. I'll have to play very well and just try and keep my nose in front.

Q. What would it mean coming down the 18th with your dad and to win this event?
RORY McILROY: It would be incredible. It would be awesome.

Q. Icing on the cake.
RORY McILROY: It would be, exactly. Especially being his 50th birthday, as well, it would be incredible. But we can't really think too far ahead. If it happens, it happens. But as long as he gets to play St. Andrews on his birthday and I'm in there, I think it will be a nice way to spend his birthday.

Q. One defining thing about Paul's captaincy, the thing that struck you most about it?
RORY McILROY: He played a lot on the fact that we were underdogs, so he always said, every interview you give, even if you're talking to the caddies, talking to anyone, always throw in the Europeans are going to be very tough to beat and we are going to have to play extra good to beat them. You know, just really go out with that underdog mentality, because if we -- he thought if we did that, that maybe would have given them a bit of confidence and maybe a bit of complacency and in a way it worked. That was a big thing that he spoke about.
You know, he let us do our own thing. We were ten individuals that came together for a team but he let us do our own thing. If we only wanted to play nine holes, we only played nine holes. If we wanted to go up early and practice on our own, we did. He just let us do whatever we needed to did to get ready for the event. He was very good in that.

Q. Did you expect him to be as good as he was?
RORY McILROY: He was great. I didn't know what to expect because I had never been in a team. He was very excited about it and he was looking forward to captaining the team and he did an unbelievable job.

Q. He told us he got to the range before everybody else so he could do a bit of practice.
RORY McILROY: It's obviously working. He's hitting nicely, as well. I was second on the range that Sunday morning and hitting balls beside him and he was flushing it.

Q. All of the players to a man sent him a text after; can you tell us what you sent him?
RORY McILROY: Just it was a great week and he was a great leader and I think just all the boys enjoyed themselves. Obviously he's not finished his playing career but hopefully in the future I'd love to work with him like that again. He was a great -- I don't want to say inspirational, but he was a great motivator.

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