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May 1, 2014

Rory McIlroy


Q.¬† Rory, opening round, 3‑under to make the turn on the back nine.¬† A little stumble on the front 9 there, but a good finish.
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I felt like I played well.  I gave myself chances for birdies, felt like I putted a little better today than I have in the last few weeks so that's a good positive.
I was looking to go a couple more under par after the turn but bogeyed 3 and 4, got some nice putts on 5 and 6 and was trying to squeeze one or two more out of the last few and I wasn't able to do that but I think anything sub‑70 today was a good score.¬† The wind is a little gusty out there.

Q.  Seven to 14 fairways, were they near misses or how did you hit it off the tee?
RORY McILROY:¬† I hit it well off the tee.¬† There were near misses, I hit it in the semi‑rough.¬† I missed a couple by a lot.¬† I missed the 16th and the 3rd, by a long way, and actually the 4th, to be honest, but I had the two par 5s in the front on the semi rough so that was fine, so, no, I felt like I hit the ball pretty well off the tee.¬† This doesn't reflect probably how well I did.

Q.  The course conditions today, first time under tournament conditions you got to look at these greens.
RORY McILROY:  Honestly, I think they're inconsistent.  There are some that are softer than others but it's sort of expected with new greens.  They're so new that they're not going to settle at the same time.  There are some that are going to settle sooner than others, so I felt like there were a few balls out thereto stopping pretty quickly and a few that released, so that's something to be weary of.  We have played a round out here now so at least if I know the ball is going to release a little more on a certain green you can take that as it comes.

Q.  Quite a bit of give and take on the scorecard, more birdies than bogeys.  You satisfied with that round, 69?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, it was good.  I played solid, played the par 5s well, which I wanted to do.  Coming off of my last start at Augusta I didn't play the par 5s well, so I took advantage of those.  Felt like I putted better so that was nice.
Yeah, I think anything in the 60s out there today is a good score.

Q.¬† Yesterday you played in the Pro‑Am, and today another round on the "new" golf course here.¬† Do you feel like you've got a good feel of how this course is going to play now?
RORY McILROY:  I think so.  I don't think it's going to play that different to the way it has in the past.
Obviously the greens are a little different.¬† Some are firmer than others I thought out there, so that's something that we will have to take into account this whole week but, yeah, obviously tee‑to‑green doesn't play that differently, the lines off the tee are pretty much the same, apart from 16.
Yeah, around the greens it's a little different but having played a competitive round out there now I feel like I'm pretty much adjusted to it.

Q.  Shooting a 69, what frame of mind does that put you in heading into tomorrow?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, it's good.  I'm up there, top of the leaderboard, you know, Angel shot a good 66 and that might hold up for the rest of the day because it's getting breezy out there and the conditions are going to be tricky this afternoon so anything around there, it's good.  I've played well here before and I feel like I'm really comfortable on this golf course, so just try and go out and do something similar tomorrow.

Q.  Rory, comments on a 69 today?
RORY McILROY:¬† Yeah, it was a good start, good score.¬† I felt like I probably could have squeezed a couple more out of it but I think anything in the sub‑70 today was a decent score.¬† Wind was getting up a little at the end so made it a little tricky.¬† The greens, I felt like some were firmer than others. ¬†The ball stopped on a few greens and sort of released on a few others.¬† At least we've played a round out here now so we can, I guess, take that into consideration as the week goes on.¬† Pleased with the start.

Q.  Overall how do you compare the course to the one you played a few years earlier?
RORY McILROY:¬† Tee‑to‑green it's not that much different.¬† Obviously 16 is a huge change but apart from that, it's just the greens, the green complexes, the characteristics of the greens are the same sort of slopes and the way the ball feeds and stuff.¬† Just a different surface and they have maybe taken some of the severity out of some of the slopes.¬† It's very similar.
I mean, I sorta‑‑ I didn't feel comfortable on the tee shot on 16 today and hit it a little left, but apart from that it feels the same.

Q.  Given what you said yesterday about your putting is today more what you're looking for?  Is that a good step?
RORY McILROY:¬† Yeah, that was a good step for sure and held some nice putts, hit it to like 6‑feet.¬† The ones that I was missing at Augusta, I hit it to 6‑feet on the 10th and made it, missed one on 12 but then held a nice one on 14, 15, 17, 18, so I held some nice putts today which was good to see, at least it tells me the stuff I'm working on is going in the right direction.

Q.  When you have struggled with putting in the past have you ever let it seep into your game where you put pressure on yourself to hit it closer?
RORY McILROY:¬† No, not really.¬† I think it's‑‑ obviously it can, but I've always been the type of player that I've never had to rely on my putting too much, so obviously you putt well, you're going to do well and contend in tournaments, but I feel like I've always been a different sort of player, where even if sometimes I don't putt so well, I'll still be able to get it to run under par because I can hit the greens on the par 5s and 2‑putt those and hit a couple of iron shots close, but I never felt like I needed to rely on my putting so much.

Q.  (No microphone.)
RORY McILROY:¬† Probably the two par 3s that I birdied, 17 and 6.¬† 17 was a nice shot in there, and the 6th hole I hit 223, a nice 5‑iron in there, blew the hole, 15 feet, and the way I played the par 5s as well, because coming off Augusta where I played the par 5s even par for the week and playing the par 5s today 3‑under par was much better.

Q.  Going to Pinehurst in a little over a month.  A little bit different test than it was at Congressional?
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, I've never been to Pinehurst.  I'm planning to get up there at some point before the tournament starts.  Yeah, it's going to be different.  It's going to be a different U.S. Open anyway, there isn't going to be any rough for a start, you know, which is unheard of, at least for me.  I've never played a U.S. Open where there hasn't been much rough, which might encourage guys to take driver a little bit more and be a little more imaginative around the greens, so I think that's going to be a good thing for the U.S. Open, but obviously heard a lot of great things about Pinehurst and looking forward to seeing it in a few weeks time.

Q.  Have you ever played with Jonas before?
RORY McILROY:  That's the first time, yeah.  He gets it around.  He obviously didn't have his best game today but he has a great short game, and he got up and down from some very tricky spots today.

Q.  (No microphone.)
RORY McILROY:  Yeah, exactly, for sure.  He played well at Oak Hill, and he got himself into contention at the Masters, so he seems to do well.
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks, Rory.

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