MORE INTERVIEWS: Well Fargo Championship transcript archive
Q. Tough start with the three foot bogey on the 10th your opening hole today, but you battled back and really had some good opportunities inside ten feet for some other birdies.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I did. I hit the ball really well again today and gave myself a lot of opportunities. I clearly misjudged the speed and the tempo of the green, and the greens were a lot faster today than they happened to be yesterday afternoon. It took a little bit of time to get adjusted.
But I think this week it's all about fairways and greens. If you can do that, not every putt's going to drop, but I think if you've given yourself the chances, you take a few of them and you'll be right there.
Q. Yesterday I watched you drive the ball really well off the tee. Again, today, I only think you missed a couple of fairways. You talked about the need to drive the ball well on this golf course, especially as soft as it is.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, for sure. I only missed a couple of fairways again today I think. My driving has been good. I don't I felt like at the first few events of the year I had a big miss to the right, and I think I've eliminated that which is a good thing. And, yeah, the more you can put your ball in the fairway, not just here, but on any golf course, you're going to do well.
Q. Your thoughts on how the course played? How different was it for you playing this morning as opposed to yesterday afternoon?
RORY McILROY: It was a little different, a little breezier, I think. I think the breeze is going to get up for the guy this is afternoon. As I said, the greens were a little bit quicker, so that took a little bit of time to get adjusted to. But, apart from that, it played relatively similarly. It's dried out a little bit, but it's still quite wet out there.
Q. 6 under heading into the weekend. Good luck the rest of the way.
RORY McILROY: Thanks.
Q. Rory, obviously, a couple of bogies early on your first nine, but really got it together on your second nine.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I actually played pretty well on the back side as well. I gave myself plenty of chances; I just didn't take any of them. It took me a while to get adjusted to the green speeds this morning. I felt like they were a lot quicker than they were last night.
I misjudged my first putt on 10. I had like a 15 footer for birdie and hit it 10 feet past, so that was a nice little wake up call. Apart from that, I played well. I gave myself plenty of chances again, didn't hole as many putts as yesterday, but you're not going to hole every putt on these greens. So as long as I keep giving myself chances that is the most important thing.
Q. After the club change you made this year, you played a lot of golf going into Augusta to get into rhythm. It seems like you're playing your best golf of the year, even though you've taken a few weeks off.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I feel comfortable. I'm comfortable with my game. I was comfortable with my game heading into Augusta. I played well the week before. It's just a few bad holes that week, but I feel good. I'm looking forward to a big summer coming up.
Q. Played the par 5s at 1 over today and still kind of right there?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that was disappointing. I guess I had opportunities to make birdies there too. 10, obviously, but then I had two decent shots into 15 and didn't get up and down there. 5 was the same, I left it in the wrong bunker. I should have been missing that left, and then 7. So I didn't play the par 5s very well today, but I think it shows how the rest of my game is that I'm still right there and still able to score.
Q. On 15, you were right there and it looked like an easy birdie and didn't really chip it close. Is chipping an issue with the pace of the greens?
RORY McILROY: It's tough because sometimes you don't know whether it's going to stop dead or it's going to skip on. There is a little bit of guesswork out there.
Q. Do you kind of get the sense that things have calmed down for you now a little bit with everything that was going on earlier in the year?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'm back to what I'm supposed to do which is playing golf and trying to win golf tournaments. There was quite a lot of hoopla going on around me for the first couple of months of the year. But once that settled down, it lets me focus on what I need to, which is playing golf.
Q. This tournament obviously means a great deal to you, first American victory three years ago. But since then, you've had so many major championships. Have you reflected a little about how much this place means?
RORY McILROY: A little. I do love this place. I love coming back here. I've got good memories from it and a lot has happened since that week in 2010, so it's great. It's a nice place to get your first victory and a couple of other young guys have got the first victory here, A.K. and Rickie Fowler. So it's a good place to do it.
Q. Do you look forward to next week at all?
RORY McILROY: I'll concentrate on this week first and then I'll think about it.
Q. Is your mindset any different? I mean, you're in contention. Is it the same for every tournament you play when you're sort of in this position going into the weekend?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it's the same thing. You have to just keep doing what's gotten you in this position. I feel this week that's putting the ball in play and giving myself as many chances as I can out there. I think that is the most important thing.
Q. You wore a Tar Heel hat the other day before you got here. Have you heard it from Duke or N.C. State fans?
RORY McILROY: I got a lot of support on Twitter from it, and I've gotten a lot of abuse as well. It's a hat that I like and I don't know, yeah.
Q. You picked an area team. You went with the Tar Heels.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, there you go.
Q. Given how long it took you to get your swing to click in since the beginning of the year, when you know you need to take time off, was there any kind of trepidation like I've just gotten my swing together and now I'm going to step away from swinging for a week?
RORY McILROY: No, not really. I think the patterns stay with you. It really, for me anyway, it would take me a good few weeks for that to really go away. That's sort of what happened over the Christmas and New Year break. But it is what it is.
Yeah, I was really confident with where my swing was, and it was just a couple of little tweaks we made before this week and they seem to have helped.
Q. Yesterday I thought it was kind of interesting when you said going back to last year that basically Rickie took on a shot that you were a little afraid to take on.
RORY McILROY: Yeah.
Q. Have there been many cases like that where there's been a shot that you've been a little bit nervous about?
RORY McILROY: A lot of times. Sometimes you play conservative and you play it in the middle of the green and sometimes you take it on. It all depends. I mean, that was a great time to take it on. I didn't really have anything to really lose. But, again, he hadn't hit yet, so I didn't want to hit it in the water and him to have an open green to hit at.
Q. I forgot you had gone first there.
RORY McILROY: Well, D.A. had gone. So he hadn't hit yet, so it was sort of an in between yardage, but I guess with the adrenaline and everything, I could have gotten a sand wedge there. But it is what it is.
Q. You didn't strike me as someone who would back away from the flag. Do you think that is kind of a misperception about you?
RORY McILROY: I think it is a misperception. You look at the 8th hole today where the two guys hit drivers off the tee and got a triangle up there. I'm hitting 5 wood and laying back so I leave myself a good yardage and I make three and they don't. I'm smarter than some people think (laughing). I think.