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November 20, 2012

Rory McIlroy


SCOTT CROCKETT:  Rory, thanks, as always for coming in and joining us.  Welcome back to Dubai and thank you all for your attendance this morning.
Before we start today'S conference, I'm delighted to ask George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, to join us on stage because he's got a very special presentation for you.
George, I'm sure you want to say a few words.
GEORGE O'GRADY:  Thank you, Scott, and welcome everybody to the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, and hope you all have a marvellous week.
Thought we would take this moment as a Tour to acknowledge the extraordinary performance of Rory McIlroy this year, winning our Race to Dubai already before coming to the final championship; and winning the Money List I think in America, as well, on the PGA TOUR; and being PGA Champion.  And basically playing brilliantly all year and conducting himself in a manner that anybody would be proud to say, he's our champion.
So we have managed to have his money clip for next year done before the last tournament.  So Rory, this is just our way of saying at the beginning of the week, we on behalf of everybody connected with the tournament, we really enjoy having you as our champion and being here this week.  Congratulations.
RORY McILROY:  Thank you very much.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  Just to start off, that's a nice gesture and puts an icing on the cake of an already wonderful year for you.
RORY McILROY:  It does.  Obviously very proud and very honoured to have won The Race to Dubai this year.  I've had four go's at it since 2009.  I came close a couple of times, and you know, it was great to be able to do it this year.
It's been a phenomenal year, and this is just‑‑ I've still got one more tournament yet and I want to try to finish the season strong.¬† This is definitely a greet way to end what has been a great season.
SCOTT CROCKETT:  You're betting getter, aren't you.  You could have a career at this golfing thing.
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I've been at it five years, and I've sort of kept progressing every year and I want to keep trying to do that in 2013.

Q.  Just wanted to ask, coming into this weekend and this tournament, it must be a different thing for you knowing that on Sunday, you will be picking up a trophy, whatever happens on the course.  How do you approach a tournament you when you know that something is at the end of it?
RORY McILROY:  I would like to pick up two trophies at the end of the week.  I think that's the big thing.  Obviously you have to stay right till the end, so I might as well make it matter.
I really want to play well this week, finish this season on a high.  There's been a lot of high points this year, and it would be great to finish on one, as well.

Q.¬† Obviously the fact that you have The Race to Dubai wraps up a testament to your fantastic form, but nonetheless it makes the finale slightly anti‑climactic as far as the Order of Merit.¬† Would you like to see the format changed to always have something at stake in the final event?
RORY McILROY:¬† No.¬† (Laughter).¬† Not really.¬† I felt‑‑ I mean, I played well during the FedExCup Playoffs this year on the PGA TOUR and felt a little hard done by, playing so well and not being able to win that.
I think the format is good. ¬†You know, it's a season‑long race.¬† That's the way it is.¬† Lucky for me I've earned enough money to not make it matter in the last tournament.¬† I guess it is a bit of an anti‑climax this week, but as I said I would love to pick up both of those trophies on Sunday.

Q.¬† Earlier in the season you suffered that sort of mini‑blip if you like, in big tournaments; is perhaps the most satisfying thing about this year the fact that you are sitting here now with all of the accolades coming your way and the fact that you turned it around kind of midseason?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I guess.  You know, it wasn't as bad as people were making out, and I was just trying to tell everyone that at the time.  I knew it was close.  I just needed a couple of good rounds just to get my confidence back again and get it back on track.  Felt like I did that in Akron this year at the Bridgestone, and then obviously going on to win my second major the week after and to play great during the Playoffs in the States, as well.
But it is; it's very nice knowing that if I am having a few struggles here and there, that it can turn around very quickly and if I ever have those struggles again, there's no need to panic.  Just keep working hard and things will turn your way.

Q.  And when you say that you constantly want to improve, that is the goal; what, specifically, are you looking to improve for 2013, because it looks pretty good from where we are.
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, of course.  I think you can always improve as a golfer, whether it's add a little bit of variety to your short game.
I feel this year what I've done very well is hit the ball left‑to‑right, which I have not done in the past, and it's enabled me to get to a lot more right‑hand pin positions which is obviously going to set up more birdie chances for me.¬† So I think that's something I've really improved on this year.
I guess over the seven or eight weeks that I'll have off before the new season, I can just look at my game and look at the stats and see what I can improve on and go and work on.

Q.  You mentioned fatigue after Hong Kong; have you had a good rest, and how are you feeling ahead of this tournament in Dubai?
RORY McILROY:¬† I feel fine.¬† I was suffering a little bit from a cold and head‑‑ sort of head cold in Singapore and then into Hong Kong.¬† That wasn't the reason why I didn't play so well.¬†
I shot 61 in the Pro‑Am in Hong Kong, and then go out the next day and shoot 73.¬† I was actually in a decent position and then all of a sudden I started making bogeys and was just fighting to make the cut.
Made a great par on the 9th hole, which was my 17th.  Felt like on the last hole there last week I needed to really make my birdie putt on 10 to have a chance to make the cut, and didn't, and then just lost a bit of concentration.
Yeah, mentally, I felt a little bit flat last week but it's been nice to have a couple days off and regroup and get ready for this tournament.

Q.  You're a double Major Champion, No. 1 in the world; going forward, how do you cope with that?  How important is scheduling and that aspect to getting it right?
RORY McILROY:¬† It's very important.¬† I've learnt that this year, you can play‑‑ I think I've played 25 or 26 tournament this is year.¬† I think what takes it out of you most is being in contention, feeling the pressure and adrenaline on Sundays and having to get yourself back up for the next week sometimes.¬† I think that takes more out of you than going and finishing 30th or 40th every week.
So I feel like scheduling is going to be a big thing for me going forward.  Maybe not play quite as many tournaments.  Feel fresh and feel ready for every time I tee up.
I think if I do feel that way, every tournament that I enter, I have a better chance to win.

Q.  With the Ryder Cup stars here this week, have you got over that fantastic event yet?  And have you set your watch to GMT +4?
RORY McILROY:  (Laughing) Yeah, still, it was just great to be a part of.  It was great to be a part of a team that came back like that.
I've done a few interviews this week and I've talked about it a lot, but it's still hard to fathom how good it was that Sunday.  You know, everything that could have went right for us, did, in terms of the top guys winning their matches; me making my tee time; the whole thing.  We held putts when we needed to.
It just seemed like Seve was looking down on us, and he was helping us win that thing.  So as I say, it was great to be a part of, and I definitely know to check the tee times in the right time zone from now on.

Q.¬† Can you talk about the metamorphosis of Ian Poulter ‑‑
RORY McILROY:  It's like the Hulk; turned into this big, green putting machine.  It's incredible.
The thing about The Ryder Cup for Ian is he obviously thrives on it.  He thrives on the pressure.  He thrives being a leader of the team.  It's just his character.  And he's obviously went on to play great after The Ryder Cup.  Obviously winning in China there, and playing well in Australia last week.  You know, The Ryder Cup this year for Ian could be a huge springboard for bigger and better things to come.

Q.  And when you're partnering him, is it infectious?  Do you feel it and feel that it's coming?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, for sure.  I mean, you don't feel that it's coming, but once he gets on a roll, you know, he holes one putt, he holes another, and then he holes another and you're just like, he can't keep doing this, and he does.
It's just great to see.¬† It's so funny, on that Saturday evening when he held that last putt for us to go 10‑6 down going into Sunday, his caddie, Terry, turned around to me and said, "Why can't he just do this in normal tournament."¬†¬†
But it looks like he's starting to do that.  Like I said, I think The Ryder Cup has probably given him a lot of confidence and he's continued that good play.

Q.  I just wanted to ask about the Earth Course, you've been out this morning.  Just your impressions of it compared to previous years and your game plan for this week?
RORY McILROY:¬† Yeah, it's in great shape like always.¬† You know, they always present the course really, really well here.¬† I think because this tournament is a couple weeks earlier, or a week or so earlier this year, that it's not‑‑ they haven't got the course quite as firm as they have done the previous couple years, so it's playing longer.¬† It's been a long golf course anyway, but I felt like this morning the golf course was playing particularly long.
But it's a course I've always enjoyed, and the more you come back, the more you know it, and I enjoy playing it.  I think it's a good test of golf.  Just got to try to keep it out of the bunkers as much as you can.  I found a few there today, but yeah, I really enjoy it and I'm sure a lot of guys enjoy it, too.

Q.  When you talk about cutting back your schedule, how much have you looked at what might go and what is definitely going to go from where you have played this year?
RORY McILROY:¬† I think The European Tour schedule next year sort of helps me do that anyway.¬† They have got‑‑ basically you've got the World Golf Championships in Shanghai, you have the BMW tournament in Shanghai, and then you've got Turkey and then you've got Dubai.
So I know there's a few tournaments to fit in and a fewsort of scheduling things to sort of figure out, but yeah, I just feel like the last couple of years, I might have played a little bit too much at the end of the season.¬† Especially after the seasons that I've had, and it's been such‑‑ it is such a busy summer, especially with The Ryder Cup thrown in there, too.¬† So I think most of the cutting back might be at the end of the season.

Q.  Nicolas Colsaerts is the latest guy to say he's going to go play in the States, joining a number of you guys in the top of the rankings playing over there; are people right to be concerned about the status of The European Tour with so many guys playing over there?
RORY McILROY:¬† I don't think so.¬† I think with the way golf has gone, you can be a global player and you can play all over the world.¬† I don't think anyone is going to neglect The European Tour.¬† It's the Tour that we‑‑ The European Tour gave me a lot of opportunities coming through, and it's something that I'll never forget and something that I'll always hold onto.¬† I'm always going to be a European Tour Member.
There's opportunities to play over in the States, and it's hard for guys to pass them up.¬† Three of the four majors are in the U.S., and there's three World Golf Championships in the U.S. that are all obviously co‑sanctioned with The European Tour.¬† I feel like if you can go over there and play a little bit, it makes sense.

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