RORY McILROY HAMISH JONES: Rory, a terrific round today and a share of the lead at this stage going into the weekend. How does that feel? RORY McILROY: Yeah, it feels good. It felt good out there this morning. I think we got a little lucky though with the weather forecast. The weather wasn&apost as bad as we thought it was going to be this morning. The wind didn&apost really pick up so we could sort of take advantage of that. The greens were a little softer as well because of the rain. But yeah, it feels good, I played well, putted much better today than I did yesterday too, so that was a big positive. I&aposm in a great position going into the weekend. Q. Rory, yesterday when Scotty&aposs sitting in the clubhouse at minus 10 and you&aposre just going out – I&aposm not going to mention the second round but very similar to you at St Andrews in 2010, when you had that marvellous 63. What do you think – I know what the others thought in 2010 – when you&aposre sitting in the cold just going out and the bloke&aposs in with minus 10? RORY McILROY: It would have been very easy for me to get frustrated yesterday and I was getting a little frustrated because I bogeyed 10 and 11 to go back to even par and I&aposm thinking to myself: I&aposm 10 behind, not just 10 behind anyone, I&aposm 10 behind Scotty [LAUGHS] I think it was big. I played my last seven holes last night at three under par. But yeah, when you see someone like that at the top of the leaderboard already with a low score, it&aposs tough not to think about it. It&aposs tough not to sort of press the issue and try and make birdies to catch up with them right away but golf tournaments are long, they&aposre four days, 72 holes and there&aposs a lot of time to chip away at those leads. You saw with me in 2010 [LAUGHS] it can evaporate very quickly. Q. Yesterday morning the greens were absolutely pure out there but in the afternoon they became a little slower and looked a bit rougher. Would that be your assessment? RORY McILROY: Yeah it would be, with the grass that&aposs on these greens, it seems to grow throughout the day and you get a little bit of uneven growth. There are some patches that will grow a bit faster than others and it makes them a little bumpy. Even this morning because they were expecting wind, they only cut them once and there was one green, the fourth green, they didn&apost cut at all, so they were a little slower today than they were yesterday. It&aposs not a bad thing, it means you can be a little more aggressive with your putts. Q. Your form now is really coming into something, like you wanted 10 birdies out there today but unfortunately the three bogeys? RORY McILROY: Yeah, I feel like I&aposm playing well. I&aposm hitting the ball well off the tee and giving myself plenty of chances. It was good to see a few more putts go in today. As I&aposve said for the last few weeks, the game is feeling much better and I&aposm much more comfortable with it. Q. You had good momentum in your group? RORY McILROY: A little bit. I mean, we all played well. I didn t realise Geoff was so far under par. I saw he got to minus three and he shot six under today, which was good. Matt played very solidly again. I think when the guys in the group are playing well, you sort of feed off one another. You&aposre making birdies at the same holes and yeah, I think it does, especially if two of the guys in the group are playing well and you&aposre getting left behind, you&aposre sort of like I&aposve got to try and keep up with them. Q. Rory, where does that sort of round rate compared to other rounds this year in terms of reward and also your own pleasure? RORY McILROY: As 7 unders go, I think it was a pretty comfortable one. I don&apost think I did anything really spectacular out there. I held a couple of nice putts but it&aposs good. It&aposs nice. I wanted to come down here this year. I haven&apost played here in a long time. It&aposs the end of the season I want to finish the season well. It&aposs a big tournament for me, so in terms of satisfaction, going out there and shooting a good score and putting myself in position for the weekend, yeah, I&aposm very happy with that. Q. Rory, in terms of your putting, was it just the change in conditions that you were more comfortable with today, or did you do something to improve your putting as well? RORY McILROY: Yeah, I started to do something different the last few holes last night as well. I started to read most of my putts from behind the hole. I feel like on these greens I get a better read from that side. So that was something that I changed. With the greens being that little bit slower, you can be a bit more aggressive and hit them a bit firmer. Q. Probably getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but is this your last event of the year or is there one left? RORY McILROY: One left after this. Q. Is that Tiger&aposs event? RORY McILROY: Yes. Q. Rory, we understand you&aposll play the weekend with Adam. We don&apost know what he&aposs going to do this arvo but at the moment and what anyone else is going to do but as it stands you&aposll play the weekend with Adam. How do you look at that, playing with a bloke who&aposs in such good form, you&aposre in good form, looking forward to it? RORY McILROY: Yeah, that&aposs great. It will be a great atmosphere if it happens. It depends on how he plays today and how everyone else plays obviously. Yeah, I mean it would be something I&aposd look forward to. He&aposs coming home as Masters champion, won two of his last three events and is arguably the best player in the world this year. It will be exciting definitely if we&aposre paired over the weekend. Q. Rory, I&aposm just wondering throughout the year when things probably weren&apost going as well, how down on yourself you got on the course and how different your mindset is on a day like today when things are going your way? RORY McILROY: I feel like I am very hard on myself when I don&apost play the way I want to. I have high expectations of myself and when I don&apost live up to them it&aposs frustrating and I get easily frustrated with myself. It&aposs funny when you play well your mindset is all about making birdies, because you&aposre most of the time hitting the fairways, hitting the greens and you&aposve got a lot of birdie chances and when you&aposre not playing your best it seems like you&aposre hanging on for pars and trying to avoid the next bogey. The mindsets are so different. It&aposs nice when it&aposs like this when you feel like you can fire pins, you can be aggressive and you can give yourself plenty of chances for birdies. This game is so mental as well. To have that mindset of just wanting to get further and further under par is something that only comes with confidence and playing well for a few weeks leading up to this, which I have. I think that&aposs why my mindset is how it is at the minute because I&aposve built that confidence in the last few weeks and I feel like my game&aposs in good shape. Q. Is that why this week might be particularly important and next week to just carry that over into next year if you can? RORY McILROY: Yeah, after not making the tour championship in the States it was all about trying to build momentum for 2014 and that&aposs what I feel like I&aposve started to do. Q. Rory I think I&aposm right in saying yesterday you said that you&aposre maybe driving the ball as well as you ever have. What state is your game in do you think compared to other times in your career when you were winning Majors and that kind of thing? RORY McILROY: I think it&aposs just in the same shape. Again, as I was saying it&aposs all mental. When you get on a run of events where you play well, your mindset going into tournaments is going under par, winning, getting onto the top of the leaderboard as soon as possible and when you&aposre not playing so well it&aposs a bit different. You&aposre hoping to get on the leaderboard, you&aposre hoping to do well, where you&aposre not really expecting to. In terms of my game, I&aposm hitting the ball well, I feel like my short game&aposs pretty sharp. I putted much better today. Still a couple of things in my swing I feel like I need to address in the off season but for the time being it feels good. Q. Rory, obviously yesterday&aposs run gave Adam a bit of a head start but do you think that the way you played today, over the weekend, whatever happens, that you can compete and beat him down the stretch? RORY McILROY: Yeah, again, I feel like I have the game to do that as long as he doesn&apost get too far ahead today [LAUGHS] and I&aposm within striking distance going into the weekend. Yeah, I feel like I can shoot a couple more scores similar to today and have a great chance. Q. Just one more. You said you ate breakfast yesterday and saw Adam score and had a big gasp. There was a different feeling today when you throw open the curtains and saw the wind and the rain. Did it remind you of home, make you feel a bit more comfortable? RORY McILROY: Not really. I expected the weather to be worse than it was today. I thought it was going to be much tougher. We got lucky, it was quite benign out there. It looks like we&aposre probably going to get the best side of the draw. I wouldn&apost mind if it blew a little harder and rained a little harder this afternoon [LAUGHS]. It looks like we got the good side of the draw. Q. Rory, I wonder if it is possible for you to put into words how rewarding it is for you to come down here as the marquee player, the invited player, in addition to Adam obviously, and produce the goods as you have done this morning? How satisfying is that for you? RORY McILROY: It&aposs very satisfying. Obviously when you come to a tournament where you&aposre one of the headline acts or main attractions or whatever you want to call it, you want to live up to that billing I guess. For the most part this year I haven&apost [LAUGHS] wherever I went. So it&aposs nice. It&aposs nice to reward the people that invite you down here and look after you so well. What they ultimately want is at the end of the week your name up there challenging for the title. Q. You&aposve been to Sydney before, I just want to ask you how rewarding it is to show Sean and Mitchell around Sydney and have you become a bit of a tour guide? RORY McILROY: Actually to be honest Sean booked a place last night for dinner that was very impressive. He did a good job there. But yeah, it&aposs been nice. It&aposs been nice to come back. I had a great time here the last time I was here just at the start of the year. I didn&apost have my clubs with me, so I didn&apost play but was sort of more of a tourist. It&aposs a city I really enjoy. Q. Is it good to have one of your best buddies here with you too? RORY McILROY: Yeah it is. Mitch is here, which is good. He keeps us entertained at night. It&aposs funny. It&aposs good. HAMISH JONES: Thank you very much Rory, good luck on the weekend. RORY McILROY: Thank you.
Author: Golf Australia