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ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP


January 16, 2014


Rory McIlroy


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Q.テつ You've opened your 2014 account with a 2‑under, what are some thoughts on your play today?
RORY McILROY:テつ I played well.テつ I was very happy how I struck the ball from tee‑to‑green.テつ I felt like I drove the ball really well, which you need to do around here, because the rough's so thick.テつ I was hitting it long and hitting it straight.
I just didn't really take advantage of some of the opportunities I gave myself.テつ I should have made birdie on the 8th hole, which was my 17th and had a good chance at the last, as well.テつ So it was definitely a round that could have been a little bit better but no bogeys.テつ It was a solid start, and yeah, I mean, I was pleased with how I hit it.

Q.テつ It's not always the birdies you make, it's the bogeys you don't make.テつ Talk us through the third shot at 6, quite special?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, we actually thought off the tee that the tee shot wasn't going to be in that cut of rough.テつ We thought maybe at worst it was going to be in the semi.テつ But I got down there and it was just an awful lie, could only advance it around a hundred yards and then I had seven, eight yards left for my third and it was sort of one of those shorts, it was out of the semi‑rough and sometimes you're unsure of how it's going to react, and also I just tried to land it on the front of the green and let it release and then played it pretty well.テつ I thought it looked very good for a long time.

Q.テつ You've been in Dubai practising for ten days before coming here, I know you've worked really hard.テつ Give us some perspective of what a hard day's work is like.
RORY McILROY:テつ It's usually in the gym at seven, and then I'm in there for like an hour and a half, get some breakfast, go to the course.テつ I'll probably practise, hit balls and short game and stuff, for maybe ten until one and get some lunch and go out and play some holes, play nine or play 18, and then some days I'll be back at the gym from 5.50 to seven and get some dinner and go to bed.テつ It was good to do that, though.テつ I felt like I got a lot out of it.

Q.テつ I take it that's a nice tidy start to the championship.
RORY McILROY:テつ Very tidy.テつ I was really pleased with how I hit the ball out there.テつ I think from tee‑to‑green, I was really solid.テつ Drove the ball great.テつ Probably didn't take advantage of some of the great opportunities I gave myself.テつ Could have been a few better, but starting off bogey‑free is always a nice way to start, and definitely a nice score to build on for the rest of the week.

Q.テつ Is it fair to say that this course is as tough as ever, haven't had too much breeze yet?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, I think the breeze is supposed to pick up this afternoon, so the setup was as tough as it's ever been.テつ And actually it's a little softer than it has been in previous years and the greens are a little slower, but the rough is very thick, and really penal and if you miss the fairways, you're making life very hard for yourself.

Q.テつ Are you feeling the benefit of having all the warm up in Dubai prior to the tournament?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, definitely.テつ I feel the benefit of ending last year well and then starting off this year with a lot of hard work and.テつ It sort of showed out there, that was my first competitive round since the start of December, and I drove the ball as well as I have done in a long time.

Q.テつ A great start to the tournament, you must be pretty happy with that?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, it was good.テつ I was really pleased with how I hit the ball from tee‑to‑green.テつ I thought I drove the ball really well, the best I've driven it in a long time.テつ I probably didn't take advantage of some of the opportunities I gave myself, but I guess to start a tournament bogey‑free is never a bad thing.

Q.テつ You've got the old look about you, if I may say, you've really got the spring back in the step it seems?
RORY McILROY:テつ Yeah, I'm confident and really excited to start the season.テつ I feel like I finished off 2013 really well with a little bit of momentum and had a good off‑season and worked hard on a few things, and it's good to see that that's coming out on the golf course and I'm starting to hit the ball very well.

Q.テつ You've always had such a wonderful driver; does the game start with driving for you?
RORY McILROY:テつ It's huge.テつ It's the foundation of my game.テつ If I drive the ball well, I play well and my results are good.テつ So it's great to see that the driving has really improved and it's where I want it to be and hopefully I can continue that not just this week but the rest of the season.
You miss fairways here, and you get penalized heavily, so if you're hitting it long and straight off the tee, it's a huge advantage.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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