MORE INTERVIEWS: Well Fargo Championship transcript archive
Q. Rory in the middle of the round, you had six birdies in seven holes. What was going through your mind at that point?
RORY McILROY: Just to keep going. I was hitting some good shots in there and leaving the ball quite close to the pins for the birdies, which is what you need to do out here. It's hard to hole on putts, but I played well. I gave myself plenty of chances and I'm really happy with the day.
Q. Speaking of your mind, what is your thought process when you see low scores in the morning and you're playing in the afternoon, and you see no wind and a soft golf course?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I actually thought the scores this morning could have been a little bit lower. 5 under was the best round out there, but it played long. It's soft, and you've really got to drive it well if you want to take advantage of these conditions.
Q. We saw Phil earlier, and we asked him the same question. Haven't seen you guys since The Masters. When you take a long break, what is the thing you need to do the most to get it back in a competitive gear?
RORY McILROY: For me, usually it isn't that difficult. I took the best part of two weeks off after Augusta and didn't touch a club. Flew back out to Florida last Friday, had three or four really good days' practice, and I feel good about my game. I knew if I could just take that from there to here, I'd do okay.
Q. Seven birdies, couple bogeys on the card. Your thoughts on how you played today, especially that nice birdie run of 4 in a row on the front side?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it was nice. I felt like I played really well. I hit some really good iron shots, solid drives and gave myself plenty of chances. That's all you can really ask of yourself. I was able to make a few, and as you said, the one on the last was especially nice.
Q. On our broadcast today, Mark our analyst and I even said you looked very comfortable. You looked relaxed out there. Were you? Was that the type of day it was?
RORY McILROY: Yeah. I feel a lot more comfortable with my swing and a lot more comfortable with where my game is at, so that's always going to make it easier. But I love this golf course. I seem to play well around here, so that is also an added benefit.
Q. 5 under and you make the birdie at 18. Tell me about the putts at 15 and 17; you had really good looks there.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I was disappointed with 15 because I had two great shots into the perfect position just underneath the green on the right side. It was an easy up and down for birdie, and to take three to get down from there, it wasn't great. But I gave myself a chance on 16 and again on 17.
You're not going to hole every putt out here which is understandable, but it was nice to hole that one on the last.
Q. Finally your thoughts on the golf course, how the set up was today and the conditions you had to play under?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's soft. There was a lot of rain last night and obviously a lot of rain last week. The ball isn't running much on the fairways. It's not going anywhere on the greens, which isn't a bad thing. If you can hit fairways around here and hit it quite long, you're going to have a lot of chances to make birdies.
Q. All week long you've been saying it, the rough greens, no big deal. Obviously, today you tied for second and you proved it. Talk about coming around the 9th and 10th and how that impacted your game?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it is what it is. I treat it like it's the same for everyone. They're not the best greens that we've ever putted on, but they're certainly not the worst either. The ball still rolls pretty well on them. As long as you give yourself chances for birdies, that's all you can ask.
Q. Is that what the day was about for you, chances?
RORY McILROY: Yeah. Fairways and greens, especially when the conditions are this soft, if you drive the ball well, you can really take advantage of that. And for the most part today I did drive the ball well.
Q. Talk about the stretch from 5 through 8?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it started off with I hit a good drive off 5, but not a great second shot but got lucky and got that up and down. Hit a great iron shot into 6 and into three feet and then
Q. What did you hit?
RORY McILROY: 7 iron.
Q. Tee off, I take it?
RORY McILROY: Tee off, yeah. So, yeah, then two good shots into the seventh hole, and I had a good drive up and gave myself a chance. I think that's what it's all about this week. If you can put your ball in play off the tee and get it down there quite a long way, it makes it a lot easier.
Q. (Indiscernible) he said in Europe the courses are the same. Do you think the fact that you played European courses and they have similarities to Wells Fargo that that helped you?
RORY McILROY: I guess in a way. We're spoiled out here that most weeks we play and we get perfect golf courses and this is a week where everything is perfect. Just the greens aren't quite as good as what they usually are. But it's more the soft conditions. The soft conditions, I think, a lot of the guys will take advantage of that this week.
Q. You gave yourself an opportunity last year to win getting into the playoff. How much motivation was that to get so close and not quite get there?
RORY McILROY: Sort of. I've won this tournament before, which is great, and I had a good chance last year, but I just got beaten by the better guy on the day. Rickie hit two great shots into the playoff hole there and took on a shot that I was a little afraid to, if I'm honest. He deserved it. But it's always a place where I've felt comfortable and I played well.
Q. The way you hit your irons today, is that what you've seen in practicing back home?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's been nice. I've worked on a little thing with Michael over the last few days, something that we saw at Augusta. It's really bettered it nicely already. It was only a tiny little thing, but it's made a good difference.
Q. Would you say you made big strides from the beginning of the year, or has it just been more little, minute things that have finally come together for you?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I think it's big strides because my game wasn't where it should have been at all at the start of the year. Got into a couple of bad habits on my swing, and it just took me a little bit of time to get out of them. But now that I feel like I'm swinging it well, this is the sort of golf I expect to play.
Q. How good does it feel, as you say, because everyone's sort of been watching you with the new Nike endorsement deal and picking apart your game maybe unfairly, and the fact that you're in position in round one and really in the conversation to be challenging for this championship. Which you've said, you've won before? It's got to feel good.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, of course it feels good. Even before this, Augusta, I played well; I had a bad stretch on Saturday, and had a great chance to win in San Antonio the week before. I've seen my game progress week by week, which is a good thing. There are still 54 holes to play, but it's a nice start here this week.