June 8, 2019
Q. 64; low round of the day, but conditions didn't seem that easy out there. Were they?
RORY McILROY: No, they were tricky. Obviously the golf course is still a little soft with the rain that we had at the start of the week.
But I controlled my ball pretty well today. I drove it well. Drove it in the fairway for the most part, which you need to do around here. That's something I didn't do last week in the Memorial. Big improvement there.
And then from there, just keep giving myself chances and picking off the birdies when I can. I did that well today. I stayed patient. Made a couple really good up and downs on the back nine when I needed to.
You know, all added up to a great score and gives me a chance to win tomorrow.
Q. Yeah, scrambling today 4 of 4. Just not missing as much in this rough. Pretty difficult stuff.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, 100%. I think as well you have to be a little bit fortunate with the lies that you draw. Today for the most part the lies that I got were relatively simple and I could play a simple shot.
There has been some times this week where the lies haven't been so good and it becomes a bit more challenging. Every thing went my way today and it added up to a 64.
Q. You're aggressive off the tee. Do you think it's going to have to stay that way tomorrow? This course offers some low scores.
RORY McILROY: It does. I think you got to pick and choose your spots. I stayed aggressive on the first tee this afternoon. Hit driver off there and was able to make birdie, and that set the tone for the day, I think.
If the hole location's in a good spot for driver tomorrow I'll do that and try to hit a good, aggressive tee shot off 1 and go from there.
Q. Considering the score and the way you played throughout the whole bag, what does that say about the state of your game right now?
RORY McILROY: I'm much happier with it than I was Saturday morning last week. A week can make a big difference. Just tidied a couple things up. Got the driver going a bit better; got my wedges going a bit better. The things that you definitely need around this golf course, Hamilton, and things I'll obviously need down the line looking at the next few weeks coming up.
So, yeah, I was grateful for the opportunity to work on my game a bit over the weekend. If anything, that missed cut last weekend has been a little bit of a blessing.
Q. First time at the Canadian Open. What were your expectations coming into the tournament and how has your experience so far measured up to those?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's been awesome. The Canadian fans really come out and support this event. Yeah, it's probably the best atmosphere I've played in in a long time. Around that 13th hole there is pretty cool.
Never played Phoenix. I think what they've been able to do here is like right on the limit of fun but still in keeping with the traditions of the game, so I think it's been awesome. I've really enjoyed my time here. I've had a wonderful reception from everyone and just excited to get to play in front of them again tomorrow.
Q. Did you expect that coming in though?
RORY McILROY: Not particularly I didn't. I mean, I seem to get pretty good support most places I go, but for whatever reason here I think there are a lot people with Irish roots who seem to be very vocal out there.
It's great to see. I'm really enjoying myself out there.
Q. Yesterday you said you had 16 holes book ended by two rough ones. How important was the good start today?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was nice to get off to a good start. It was nice to birdie the first hole and get the shot back I lost on 18 last night.
So I think the birdie on 1 definitely set the tone for the rest of the day.
Q. You talked about being here at least in part to prepare for next week. Is that thought completely out the window now?
RORY McILROY: Oh, yeah. That thought doesn't even enter your mind on Thursday morning when you're on the golf course. You're here to try to win a golf tournament. I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to give it my all and try to compete.
I think the best preparation for tournaments ahead is to get yourself into contention and feel the heat of battle, and going down the stretch hitting the shots when you need to.
If you can do that then I don't think there is -- you can do anything else in the game that will give you more confidence than that.
Q. Your work with the Irish Open, you know how important it is to get top players to a national Open. Do you feel sort of an appreciation for coming to support a national open when you came here?
RORY McILROY: Yeah. I mean, look, it's -- yeah, like I'm standing here playing in your national open and I'm not playing in my own this year, which is something -- I've been very loyal and dedicated to the Irish Open. I felt with the Open Championship being at Portrush it was a chance for me to prepare more the way I wanted to.
They are. They're very important. They're the oldest championships in our game for the most part. If someone said to me earlier, Do you know how many national opens you've won, I could count them and I've won five. If I were able to win tomorrow that would be my sixth and that would be something I would be very proud of.
Q. What do you need to do tomorrow to get the win?
RORY McILROY: I think if I go out and adopt a similar game plan to how I played the last three days, play with the same freedom, play aggressively, there are still going to be birdies out there to be made.
Yeah, I mean, I've shot three scores in the mid-to low 60s. Really feel like I'll need something similar to that tomorrow. Maybe not quite as much a 64 like I did today, but at least 67, 66 to get the job done tomorrow.
Q. Every time this season that you're in contention you've been preaching the importance of perspective. Tomorrow how important are those qualities so that you can go out there, be aggressive because you're going to be chasing the lead tomorrow?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. I just have to concentrate on what I can do. Yeah, as you said, perspective has been a word I've used a lot this year, along with patience and persistent and all the Ps that I've tried to practice this year.
They've done me well to this point. They're things I have to keep reminding myself of. You know, whether I hit a good shot or bad shot or in a good spot or not, if I just keep preaching that to myself it just makes things -- it eases the tension and makes things a bit simpler.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports