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July 17, 2013
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
LYNN WALLACE: Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome
former No. 1 and two-time Major Championship Rory McIlroy. Thanks
for joining us today. You're playing your first Open Championship
here at Muirfield. Can you give us your thoughts and expectations
going into this week.
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, first look at Muirfield, I obviously
heard a lot of great things about it. I remember watching Ernie
win here in 2002. But didn't really know much about the golf
course. And came here, I guess it's about ten days ago now,
played a couple of practice rounds, and then got here on Sunday
and played another three Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. So played a lot
of golf around here over the last ten days. It's a great golf
course. Very fair. Everything is right there in front of you.
No little hidden surprises, like a lot of links courses that we
And obviously with the weather, the conditions are firm
and fast and I think the way a links course should be played.
It's all set up and looks like it's going to be a great week.
Q. I think you were trying to play some competitive golf out
there with one ball, sometimes, anyway. What's the best score you
RORY MCILROY: Actually I shot my best score in the most
difficult conditions. It was very windy on -- must have been
Monday morning. And I shot a couple under right there in those
conditions. And everything else has sort of been around level par
It's tough. You hit it in the rough here and you've just
got to try to get it back into play. And it's wispy, but at the
same time, you've got a lie, and you think you can get a 7- or
8-iron on it. And the longer stuff just wraps around the hosel
and the ball goes straight left. When you put it in the rough
here, you've got to take your medicine and get it back into play.
Q. In your ten days since when you played your first
practice round here until now, has the course hardened up
appreciably, or was it hard then, even ten days ago?
RORY MCILROY: It was hard, but it was definitely more
green. It's definitely got a lot more fiery over the past ten
days. I know they've been putting a lot of water on it the past
couple of nights, even yesterday morning I was out there early and
they were still putting water on the 8th green. They're obviously
just trying to keep it where it is.
But it's going to be great. As I said, it's a way a
links course should be played. You've got to hit a few shots that
you don't normally hit during the year. So it will be good. And
you've got to have quite a bit of imagination to obviously get the
ball on the ground and get it running for the most part.
Q. Just want to know if you've seen Nick Faldo's comments
the last few days, saying you should concentrate on your golf. Is
that a frustration for you to hear that thing in preparation for
RORY MCILROY: I saw what he said, and he said I should
be at the course nine to five. I actually was on the range at
6:15, and got out of the gym at 6:15, actually a 12-hour day
compared to his eight-hour day. It is what it is, and Nick should
know how hard this game is at times. And he's been in our
position before. And he should know how much work that we all do
put into it.
Q. Is he trying to help you, though, or do you think he's
not helping you at all?
RORY MCILROY: I don't know.
Q. How difficult is it for you guys to just completely
forget all the stuff that you do most weeks, with the high ball,
stopping it, to play a completely different game when you're
looking to hit it low, you're looking to find the spots where it's
going to run on 50 yards? To get that mind change for this
particular week, how tough is that for you?
RORY MCILROY: I wouldn't say it's tough. It's an
adjustment. I think it's a very -- it's an exciting challenge.
It's obviously a challenge to adapt your game to the course that
you're going to play. But we do, most weeks, obviously, as you
said, most of the time our golf is mostly through the air,
especially over in the States where obviously -- U.S. Open is a
little bit different. This year because it was wet most times it
was through the air.
That's why most guys come here early and a lot of guys
played in Scotland or up in Inverness last week to get a feel for
links golf. I don't think it takes too much of an adjustment. I
think spending a few days around the greens and getting to work on
a few different shots off the tee or into the greens, most of the
guys are good enough to adjust in a few days.
Q. Is it fun, actually, to be able to test yourself, like
here where the wind is so many different ways?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, it is, it's great. We're going to
have a few different winds this week, so tomorrow it's going to be
out of the west, like it has been the last few days. And Friday,
Saturday and Sunday, it's going to be completely different, out of
the east. We'll play the golf course in two different winds,
which will be great, as well.
Q. We are very excited for your performance also playing
this Japanese, Hideki Matsuyama. You've been playing many
Japanese, but if you compare them, what do you think about
RORY MCILROY: To be honest, I've never played with him
before. So it's going to be my first time. But obviously his
performances have been very impressive. He played well at the
Masters. And he seems like a very, very talented player. It will
be good and it will be exciting to play with them.
Obviously I've played with Ryo a lot over the past few
years. He's a great player. And just getting adjusted to playing
golf in the States. He's coming along. Yeah, looking forward to
the next two days, it should be a good grouping with Phil
Mickelson there, as well.
Q. You mentioned Nick Faldo and saying how he should know
how hard the game is. Can you talk about how hard the game has
been for you over the last year, where you are now, and how hard
the game is outside the ropes for you?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, it's been -- I think the game's been
a bit of a contrast, because there's been times where it felt not
to hard and I went on a great run from this point last year until
the end of the season.
And then, yeah, it's like life. You're going to go
through highs and you're going to go through lows. It's just
about trying to work your way out of the lows. Yeah, I haven't
played my best golf this year, but I've showed signs that it is
there. It's just a matter of trying to do that more often.
But, yeah, it's been difficult to try, I guess, explain
why I'm not playing well or why I haven't had the results that
I've wanted over the past six months. But I know that I'm working
on the right things and I know that I'm doing the right things and
I'm staying patient. And I know sooner or later it will turn
around and I'll play the golf that everyone knows that I'm capable
of and the golf it that I know that's capable of winning Major
Q. Given how much you've achieved at such a young age,
you're a good ambassador for the game, do you sometimes think why
me? Why am I getting so much criticism, why are people on my
RORY MCILROY: No, I don't think that at all. The thing I think is what's the big deal? I haven't had the best six
months, but it's not -- it's okay. I'm fine. I've got a good
life. So, you know, it doesn't bother me. I'm in a good place.
And as I said, I'm working hard. I feel like I'm working on the
right things. And sooner or later it will turn around and I'll be
back lifting trophies.
Q. Bouncing off that a little bit, as your career has
flourished, obviously so has the scrutiny with every move you
make, the equipment change, the management change, things like
that. Have you come up with a formula on how to deal with that?
There's really no training for that at all. Have you ever sought
counsel from Tiger, who's probably the only guy that's gone
through that before?
RORY MCILROY: I guess the best way is to not read too
much or not listen too much or not watch too much TV. And
especially not about yourself. I think that's the best thing, to
try and stay oblivious about what people are saying about you, in
particular, try and wrap yourself in a little bubble. But
obviously it's hard to avoid at times.
Yeah, again, you just have to have the confidence and the
self belief in yourself that you're doing the right things and
know that what you're doing is ultimately going to get you to the
place that you want to be.
Q. Have you seen the Body Issue and in particular the Gary
Player photos, and what are your thoughts on them?
RORY MCILROY: I actually haven't. I haven't seen them.
I knew he was doing it, but I haven't seen any pictures.
Q. I want to ask a question about The Open Championship: I
know this is the oldest championship, the Major Championship and
the most prestigious championship. What does it mean for you to
RORY MCILROY: It's amazing to me that this is my sixth
Open, going back to Carnoustie in 2007, and that was in 2008 I
missed when it was in Birkdale. It's great. It's great to be --
I grew up watching The Open on TV. And it seems like a regular
thing, The Open. Seven or eight years ago it was such a huge
buzz, it's still a huge buzz. Anytime you come to a Major
championship or you come to an Open, you're excited. Even though
I feel I'm in the position where I can contend for them, I've been
able to win a couple. And there's always that extra little bit of
buzz that surrounds the tournament, and it's always exciting to
get back to the biggest tournaments in the world.
Q. You mentioned self belief, that it will come, and
patience. Are you by nature a patient person or is that difficult
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I am. I'm pretty laid back, when it
comes to these sort of things. So, yeah, I don't mind waiting.
I'd say patience is something that I've learned over the years, I
guess. As I said, as long as I know that I'm working on the right
things and I'm progressing, I'm moving forward, I'll wait as long
as it takes for it to come right.
Q. Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods were very supportive of
you yesterday, spoke warmly about you. How much do you appreciate
that, and how much can you take from Tiger's experience in the
past with what he's gone through and come back strong?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, Tiger more than anyone else in this
game, probably more than anyone else in sport, has been
scrutinized and criticized throughout his entire career. He set
the bar so high and that's the expectations that everyone thought
he was going to live up to. And it was only a couple of years ago
that he had dropped outside the top 50 in the world. And he's
worked his way back up. And he's now the best player in the world
again. He's won four times this year. And whenever everyone was
saying that working with Sean Foley wasn't the right thing to do,
he stuck on it, stuck at what he was trying to do. He had a plan
in place. He stuck by it and all of a sudden proved a lot of
Those guys know. They still play, they're still
practicing, they're still competing. They know how hard this game
is at times. It seems like a few guys have forgotten in a short
space of time how hard you have to work and how tough this game
Q. Peter Dawson was just in here and obviously faced a lot
of questions about the membership policies at Muirfield and where
that's going to be going forward. Do you have any thoughts on the
issue or at least any sense of how the players feel about this?
Most have been reluctant to speak out. Secondly, do players have,
no matter where they stand on the issue, have more of a
responsibility to speak out, give their opinion of this and maybe
lend their influence to the usual issue?
RORY MCILROY: Muirfield is a great golf course.
Q. I know you're a huge fan, Wayne Rooney is angry and
confused with what's going on at the moment. If you could offer a
few words of advice?
RORY MCILROY: If I was Wayne I would be very confused,
too. He's had nine great seasons at Man United, and reading
between the lines of what's being said, I don't think he needs to
prove himself to anyone, I don't think he needs to prove himself
to the new manager, I don't think he should be playing second
fiddle to van Persie, he's been a great player and a very loyal
player for Man United. And I guess, I think -- yeah, if I was him
I'd probably be in the same position. So I hope it gets sorted
pretty quickly and he obviously stays at Old Trafford.
Q. Any words of advice for him?
RORY MCILROY: He knows what he wants to do more than
I -- I guess he just wants to play football. I think he's that
sort of player. He just wants to get on the pitch and show what
he can do. And if he doesn't feel he can do that at United, he'll
obviously want to go elsewhere. And I think that's very
Q. You did speak about what's the big deal, I have a good
life, which demonstrably you have. Do you have a thing that you
could go the route of a Faldo, in that he was obsessive about golf
at one point in his life and essentially the only thing he seemed
to think about at one point?
RORY MCILROY: No, I could never -- no, I'm not like
Q. You couldn't get into that frame of mind?
RORY MCILROY: No.
Q. Tony Jacklin was saying on the radio this morning that he
thinks you should simply play more tournaments. I know what you
said about semi-retired players. Have you considered that, upping
your schedule, and specifically next year the Scottish Open is
going to be at Royal Aberdeen, which is a much more Open-like
venue a week before The Open. Would you think about adding that
one particularly to your schedule?
RORY MCILROY: I think we've got a very busy stretch
coming up now, I think I'm playing six out of the next eight
weeks, or seven out of the next nine, including this one, or seven
out of the next ten, I guess. So we've got a big stretch coming
up, so I think I'll get a lot of golf. And then I think I'm
taking three weeks off after The TOUR Championship. And then I've
got four tournaments left from then until the end of the season.
I feel like I'll get a lot of golf from now until the end of
I was looking at the schedules for next year last night.
The only thing I feel like I could have done better this year was
play a couple more tournaments at the start of the year. And I've
said that openly. And I've said that before.
And about the Scottish, I haven't really thought that far
ahead about next year. I guess The Open is at Hoylake, and it's a
course -- I've played it in the British Boys in 2003. I can't
really remember it. I guess it's just to make a decision whether
you want to go there early and get to know that course or whether
you want to play some competitive golf in a links course.
Obviously it's something I'll decide closer to the time.
Q. If you win on Sunday will you thank Nick Faldo from the
"heart of your bottom" (laughter)?
RORY MCILROY: Maybe. No, Nick -- these things can
get -- he probably said a million other things in that interview
and he obviously said something about me, and that's the thing
that's been picked up by everyone else. I know how these things
go. I know he wasn't trying to get on my case at all. He was
just offering words of advice in some way.
Yeah, as I said, I think he has to remember how hard this
game can be at times.
Q. You have played maybe the course on six different days,
would that be right, before you start on Thursday?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah.
Q. How many holes will you have played? How many different
winds have you played in? Can you give us an update on the driver
that you have now, what's different about it, why do you like it
and how many you think you might hit, depending on the winds?
RORY MCILROY: I played 18 on Monday, the first week I
played here. I played 27 Tuesday. And then I played 18 Sunday,
18 Monday, 18 yesterday and I'll play nine today. So it's a lot.
It's a lot of holes. I've played it in two different winds. I've
played it in the west wind that it's been the last few days. And
I've played it in the east wind, which it was the first Monday
that I was here. So I've played it in both winds, which I think
is quite beneficial.
And yeah I've got a new driver in the bag, which is
slightly different than the one I have been using, it's a
different head shape. More of a pear shape, but it encourages the
club face to close over a little bit more. My bad drive this year
has been losing it to the right. So this is encouraging the club
face to square up on impact and obviously I'm not getting that
right shot anymore, which is a huge plus.
And I'll hit anywhere between five and seven drivers this
week, depending on the wind. That's pretty much it. Two on the
front nine and three or four on the back nine, depending. If you
get the 12th downwind in the east wind, some guys might go for the
Q. Just on the women's issue, have the players been advised
not to speak about it? So don't 50 percent of the population
deserve sort of the better on that one?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, for sure. I haven't been advised
either way. I just think it's something that a lot of guys don't
want to get themselves into because it's quite a controversial
issue. And I guess it's -- yeah, it's something that shouldn't
happen these days. It's something that we shouldn't even be
talking about. So that's why I guess a lot of people don't want
to talk about it.
Q. And the second part on the golf, for a player searching
for his "A" game, is this championship the hardest place to find
it just because it is a links -- it is a very specific, different
test to what you face the rest of the year?
RORY MCILROY: In a way. But, again, the last two weeks
have all been about preparing myself for this tournament and this
course and the shots that I will need, obviously a lot of low
shots. Imagining landing your ball 20 yards short of the green
and getting them to bounce up, that sort of the thing. It's more
an imagination and visualization this week than technique in a
way. Because when it's windy -- I don't think it's going to be
too windy, but even in these conditions you sort of have to
conjure up shots that you don't really work on week in and week
So I definitely think this week is more about imagination
than anything else. So you can look at that in two different
ways. But I'm looking forward to the test. I'm looking forward
to the challenge. It should be a great week.
Q. When you do go through a difficult patch, like you're
saying, do you go back to basics and work on those sort of things,
to your roots?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, you go back to the thing -- you go
back to trying to create feelings that you felt when you were
playing well. You go back and look at videos. You go back and
look at swings at times where you have been playing well. We've
got a library of videos that go back 15 years. I don't want to
swing like I was nine years old again, but we have those swings.
And we go through them. And I can remember different periods
where, okay, I was swinging it well here, what was your feeling?
What was your swing thought? And just trying to go back and
recreate those feelings. And that's all that you're trying to do.
Q. Because I guess you know better than anybody apart from
RORY MCILROY: Exactly. We spent a lot of time talking
about it. But I don't think it's something that you'll ever stop
working on. It's something that you're always going to do
throughout your career. You're always going to have periods where
it feels good. And you're going to have periods where it doesn't
feel so good. And then you're trying to not search but recreate
the feelings that helped you play so well at times.
Q. But the very basics that started you off have got you
going, you go back to what you know and then work on that?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, fundamental, setup,
posture, alignment, all that stuff, yes.
Q. If you could do it all over again, would you have changed
all your clubs at the same time and the ball? Tiger did it stage
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I still would. Because I would
rather have it done in a three- or six-month period rather than
having it drawn out over two or three years. I'd rather get it
done straight away and then at least after that three- or
six-month transition period you're fully comfortable with -- I
don't mind maybe not playing your best golf for six months. It
isn't a huge sacrifice in a 30-year career. That's the way I
think of it, anyway.
Q. How would you describe the state of your game right now,
RORY MCILROY: Promising. I think that's the word. It's
promising. It's definitely heading in the right direction and I'm
excited for the next few weeks, obviously starting with here, and
then a great stretch in the States, with Akron, PGA and then all
the FedExCup series.
Q. When you're playing a course where imagination matters as
much as technique, is it almost more freeing that you can throw
out a lot of the swing thoughts and just play instinctively?
RORY MCILROY: Yeah, definitely. You're not really
thinking about many swing shots. You're thinking about shot
shapes, you're thinking about ball flights, where the ball will
land, what it's going to do when it hits the ground. You're
thinking about that way more than your swing or technique. In
that way it will probably free a lot of players up because you're
so concentrated on playing a certain shot rather than making a
Q. Just quickly to go back to the gender thing, Peter Dawson
was saying earlier that he understands that men want to associate
with men, single-gender clubs. Could you imagine anyone, not
necessarily particularly you, but anyone of your generation
wanting to join a single-gender club?
RORY MCILROY: I don't know. It's something I've never
thought about. I don't know. I just don't think it's something
that is a real issue anymore. Obviously it's an issue in some
golf clubs. But in terms of life in general, I think men and
women are treated equally for the most part these days. And
that's the way it should be.
LYNN WALLACE: Thanks very much, Rory, good luck this
RORY MCILROY: Thank you.