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June 27, 2012

Rory McIlroy


SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Welcome to the Irish Open at Royal Portrush.テつ There's been a lot of talk about this event and a lot of the players, especially the lads from Northern Ireland like yourself.テつ Give us your thoughts on being here and the week ahead.
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, it's great.テつ I think everyone was waited a long time for the Irish Open to come back up north and to have it played at one of the best golf courses in the world, Royal Portrush, is fantastic.テつ The first‑ever European Tour event to sell out is something that's obviously got a lot of people very excited, and it's shaping up to be a great week.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ You've already had the experience of the crowds out there and they are going to be huge.テつ Give us your thoughts on that, and the support you personally will be having this week.
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, it's going to be fantastic.テつ Yesterday I played an early practise round and the people that came out to watch really created a great atmosphere.テつ So, yeah, looking forward to playing in front of all of them this week and hopefully I can put on a good show.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ The course, give us your thoughts on how it's shaping up.
RORY McILROY:テつ It's in great condition.テつ I just played yesterday and the golf course is in great shape.テつ The rough's thick and greens are running well.テつ Hopefully the weather cooperates a little bit, and you know, it should be a great week of golf.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ You'll take a bit of wind, surely.
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, I definitely wouldn't mind, that as long as it stays reasonably dry.テつ Doesn't look like that at the minute.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ You never know.テつ You never know.

Q.テつ What do you rememberof the 61 you shot here?
RORY McILROY:テつ I can basically remember every shot.テつ I remember I missed a 6‑footer on the first for birdie and could have been better.
Just one of those days where everything is on song.テつ I turned on 3‑under, birdied 9, eagled 10, birdied 11, parred 12 and 13, and then birdied my way in.テつ Basically didn't miss a shot from there.テつ That was seven years ago; time goes pretty quickly.
It's a different golf course now, a few new tee boxes, and I couldn't have gone on a better day, that day when I did shoot 61.

Q.テつ Which was better, the 61 you shot here or the 62 at Quail Hollow?
RORY McILROY:テつ For me?テつ It's up there.テつ I think that and the 62 that I shot at Quail Hollow were very similar.テつ You know, one was in the north of Ireland, which was obviously great at the time.テつ It was a big event for me.テつ I was only 16 years old, but one was to win my first PGA TOUR event.テつ So I rate them very closely, but maybe the one at Quail Hollow may have been more important to me.

Q.テつ Apart from the one event you had ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ even by your standards, does it feel like this is the sort of place where you can come back and find your game?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, I've put ten days of really good work in.テつ My game feels good.テつ It actually felt pretty good at the U.S. Open.テつ At the U.S. Open I felt like it was starting to come around.テつ It's just that if you're slightly off at a U.S. Open, it's so hard to get yourself into contention.
But my game feels in good shape.テつ In a way it couldn't be a better time to come back here and play Portrush.テつ It brings back so many good memories, and you can feed off that, and that gives you some confidence.

Q.テつ Everybody is going to refer to the 61.テつ What is a really good score this week?
RORY McILROY:テつ I mean, you know, links golf, it all depends on the conditions I suppose.テつ I don't know.テつ If you play really good golf, you get rewarded around this golf course.テつ It's very fair.テつ But if you hit shots that you shouldn't, you're going to get punished.
I don't know, I'd take four 69s and see what happens I think.

Q.テつ I was going to ask, your National Open, do you feel under any extra pressure?
RORY McILROY:テつ To be honest the last couple of years, yes, I didn't quite enjoy the tag of the home favourite and that.テつ I didn't just feel very comfortable with it.テつ This year I really want to embrace that.テつ You look at so many people and when they have got a home advantage, it is an advantage, and it should be for not just me but for the guys from here as well.テつ It's something that you really have to embrace, and that's what I'm going to try and do this week.

Q.テつ Have you been able to find the key to explain the astonishing sequence of Major winners from Northern Ireland in just two years?テつ Have you got the key?テつ Is there any link between the three of you winning in this amazing matter?
RORY McILROY:テつ I don't know, I think you can look into it too much.テつ For me what G‑Mac did at Pebble really inspired me and made me believe that I could win Majors.テつ I think Darren seeing what G‑Mac and I‑‑ you know what, it all started back with Pテδ。draig in 2007 when he won at Carnoustie and then he won at Birkdale and Oakland Hills, winning three Majors in quick succession.テつ I think that gives a lot of people a lot of belief that they could go on and do similar things.
But I think it's just been a knock‑on effect.テつ To see G‑Mac, a very close friend win one; and then Darren sees both of us win one; and me especially, being the little 12‑year‑old that he took down as part of his foundation in Portmarnock.テつ He's probably thinking, if that little squirt can do it, so can I.

Q.テつ How important is it to have your coach, Michael Bannon, with you at all times now?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, it's good.テつ It's been something I've been trying to persuade him to do for a couple of years and finally got around to it.テつ Yeah, it's great.テつ With the schedule that I play now, it's very difficult to see him as much as I'd like, so for him to be full‑time now and be able to travel a lot more is something I think will be very beneficial for me.

Q.テつ Having tried two radically different approaches in the first two Majors, have you come to any defensive conclusions as the best way for you to prepare?
RORY McILROY:テつ Not really.テつ I think it all depends.テつ I felt like Memphis was really good for me before the U.S. Open, just because I wanted to get competitive.テつ But you know, I did feel like‑‑ we could be sitting here saying it worked great playing before the U.S. Open but it obviously didn't.
I don't think there is any set way.テつ If you go into an event playing well and you're confident and you shoot good scores; if not, then you're going to struggle.テつ Everyone is different, and people change it up all the time, whether they play the week before or they don't.
I'll probably just‑‑ because they always play the week before the US PGA and I've finished third there twice.テつ We don't really have a choice‑‑ well, we do have a choice, but you want to play Akron because it's a great event.テつ I don't feel like there's any set formula for me to be 100 per cent ready to go at the Majors.テつ I think it's just something that you have to feel during that week or the couple of weeks before.

Q.テつ You tended to maybe struggle a little bit when it's very windy and wet and links conditions; do you think this is a week where you have an opportunity to prove to people where you actually can play in these conditions?
RORY McILROY:テつ If nothing else, I think it's a great week of preparation, and the next couple of weeks coming up.
You know, I got back home at the weekend and the weather was not particularly good, but dragged myself out and hit balls and I was like, this could actually be very beneficial for me over the next few weeks.
Yeah, I want to try to become a better wind player and better bad weather player, and the only way to do that is by playing in it.テつ Yeah, it would be nice to go out there, and if it is bad weather this week, play well, and that will give me a bit of confidence going into The Open, if it does happen to be bad weather there, too.

Q.テつ A few of your colleagues have maybe said over the years that you find it difficult to when things are not going so well to really grind out and make up a score when you're struggling; do you agree with that?
RORY McILROY:テつ For sure, yeah.テつ Definitely in the past, if things haven't gone my way, the fight goes out of me pretty quickly, and that's something I'm working on and something that I'm trying to get better at.

Q.テつ You said with admirable honesty at the PGA that you took the eye off the ball sort of between winning Honda and Wentworth‑‑
RORY McILROY:テつ No, not quite like that.テつ It wasn't after winning Honda and Wentworth.

Q.テつ Oh, sorry.テつ I beg your pardon.テつ How did that manifest itself, and what have you learned in trying to catch up?テつ How difficult has it been to catch up, and what have you learned about yourself in that period?
RORY McILROY:テつ When I said take my eye off the ball, it was maybe just taking a couple more days off a week or something like that.テつ I mean, it's not like I was completely neglecting my golf game.
Yeah, I just realised that if I want to stay at the top of this game, I have to work as hard as I did at the start of the season when I'm preparing for the season and got to treat everything as importantly as those practise sessions at the start of the year.テつ So that was something that I realised.
We did some really good work the week before Quail Hollow and I played well there.テつ Didn't play great the week of THE PLAYERS Championship, and the week after I took off, I hit balls a couple of times and I didn't see Michael and saw him at the PGA for the first few days but at the PGA I felt like I was playing catch up because I had not seen him the week before.テつ Obviously that's something I learnt, so I brought him out to America for Memorial and Memphis to really work with him and try and get ready for the U.S. Open.

Q.テつ Was going to ask what you are sort of doing the next two weeks leading up to The Open.テつ Given what you said about the game and playing in Memphis, why aren't you playing in The Scottish Open?
RORY McILROY:テつ I just think the course is so much different, wide open fairways, big greens.テつ Just no real comparison to what it's going to be like at Lytham, you know.
So I'm just going to play links golf.テつ I'll go to Lytham for a couple of days the week before, and just get ready that way.テつ Just try and do the same thing I've done the last couple years.

Q.テつ Of the courses on the rota, is that one of your favourites?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, I played three Lytham Trophies and the British Amateur there.テつ I had a real good chance to win the Lytham Trophy twice, and the British Amateur, Danny Willett beat me in the first round, 5‑up through six or something.
Lytham is a course I like.テつ It's very fair.テつ You have to hit good shots around there, and it really punishes you; the fairway bunkers are so punishing.テつ If you hit it in, there's no chance of getting to the greens.テつ
It's a great course and I'm looking forward to it being on the rota, and I think a lot of guys are.

Q.テつ (What are some keys to playing Lytham)?
RORY McILROY:テつ You need to be very comfortable hitting the ball left‑to‑right, especially off tees I think.テつ I mean, I don't know, last time it was played there, Duval won, I'm not sure what the winning score was.
The greens at Lytham are pretty flat, so if the greens are good, you're going to have guys holing quite a few putts.テつ So I think that will be important that week.

Q.テつ Just going back to Michael, your relationship with Michael Bannon is similar in a lot of ways with Nicklaus's and Jack Grout.テつ Is this something that you discussed with Nicklaus at all, the possibility of getting your own coach with you full‑time?
RORY McILROY:テつ No, no.テつ Not at all.テつ I just thought it was just a natural progression of sort of how my career has went.テつ Because I'm playing in America a little bit more now and not spending as much time at home, it would be better if Michael could travel a bit more.
SCOTT CROCKETT:テつ Thanks, as always, for that.テつ Good luck with week.

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