What they said: Rory McIlroy

December 01, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Chevron World Challenge transcript archive

MARK STEVENS: Rory McIlroy, making your first start here at Chevron. Just got off the course. Do you want to talk a little bit about coming out and playing Tiger's event for the first time and then we'll take some questions?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, for a start, the golf course is great. We don't play a lot of golf courses like this sort of week in, week out. It's fiddly and not many drivers, and it's interesting, it's a lot of fun, and I think that's why the guys enjoy it.

And yeah, I mean, great to be here. I missed out on it last year. Yeah, I mean, it's an event I've watched on TV and it's an event I've always wanted to play. Yeah, it's good to be here.

Q. What prompted you to give up your PGA TOUR membership? Can you take us through that decision-making process?

RORY McILROY: Yeah. I think -- you know, at this time last year I was all for it, and I love playing over here, and I think that's the thing that people are forgetting, I'm still going to play ten events over here next year. I love playing over here. It's just the time of the year that the Playoffs are on over here, it just -- I just didn't -- how can I put this? It's not as if I wanted to be playing golf over in Europe, I just did not want to be playing golf at all.

The main part of our season is from April until the end of August when we have all the majors and all the big tournaments, and then I mean, for me personally I'd like to have a two- or three-week break after that, and it doesn't really let you have that. So that was one of the reasons. And that was basically it.

I mean, if the Playoffs might have been maybe three or four weeks after the PGA, you know, I'd have a nice -- a lot of the guys would have a little bit of time to rest and get themselves up for that but it seems as though you're thrown straight into the Playoffs after you've had that really busy summer.

Q. Two questions to follow up on that. If the schedule was the way it used to be, when the TOUR Championship ended November or October, it was just kind of a long season, do you think that might have changed your mind??

RORY McILROY: Yeah, because the season was spread out over a longer period. So yeah, it would make it easier to play 15, make it easier to play 15 throughout the year, yeah, instead of trying to cram it all into the summer.

Q. And secondly, you mentioned you were going to play ten times. You're allowed 11 I would think with THE PLAYERS Championship. Do you plan to play that??

RORY McILROY: Undecided. I'm definitely going to play Wells Fargo, the Memorial, and Honda Classic. So it's just making a decision, because the Volvo World Match Play is the week after THE PLAYERS in Europe and then you've got the BMW PGA the week after that, so it's really if I want to play four weeks in a row, if I want to play Quail Hollow, PLAYERS, Match Play, Wentworth.

Q. Lately between Twitter and just a lot of the post-Ryder Cup dialogue and a lot of discussion about tournaments, there seems to be sort of a Europe versus PGA TOUR -- not a feud developing but sort of kind of -- not even an animosity, but there does seem to be something from you guys where you're feeling pretty good about your Tour. What do you think is driving that??

RORY McILROY: The media, I think. I mean, I don't think it's anything else. I don't see -- it's not as if I'm not joining the PGA TOUR to make a statement or Lee Westwood's not. It just doesn't fit. You know, it just doesn't work. But that's not to say -- I'm 21 years old. That's not to say that I'm going to never be a member of the PGA TOUR again.

I'm probably going to have to answer these questions at the end of every year, and I think the whole membership thing, there's been too big a deal made of it. I mean, it doesn't matter where you play. You just want to play good golf.

I mean, the PGA TOUR won't miss me because, I mean, no one player is bigger than the TOUR. I don't feel it is, anyway. And it's -- I don't think it'll miss Lee Westwood. It won't miss Martin Kaymer. You've got so many good players over here, and it's not as if we're not going to be playing in this country, we're going to be play 10 or 11 times, and Kaymer even more, maybe 12.

Playing this year and feeling the way I felt at the Playoffs, it just seemed like a good idea just to not take my membership up next year and try and concentrate a little bit more in Europe.

Q. Quite the journey I would gather from Dubai to here. Could you take us through that, how difficult that was compared to anything else you've done this year? And just the last several weeks obviously, just all the golf, all the travel.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, and that's another thing. I mean, you sort of want to -- going back to what I was saying about having a busy summer, you want to take three or four weeks off, and then for the guys that play all over the world you've got a massive stint, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, LA, I mean, there's so many. You could say so many places, people going to Japan and playing. So yeah, I mean, it's tough this time of the year because you travel more at this time of the year than you do at any other time.

I mean, it's a tough trip. It's a 16-and-a-half-hour flight from Dubai to here. I slept for eight hours and still had eight and a half to go. You just try and fill your time.

But luckily we were flying up front, and it was nice and got a bit of sleep. I actually don't feel too bad. I slept until 6:30 this morning, which is a good achievement because any time that I've come to the West Coast before I've been getting up at 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. So to make it to 6:30 was okay.

Q. What did you do Monday??

RORY McILROY: First thing Monday morning went straight to the Oakley headquarters and spent a bit of time with them just looking at a few things for next year. And that was probably a good thing because it occupied my time and I didn't have a chance to lie down in the bed and fall asleep and wake up at 11:00 at night and then not be able to get back to sleep. So probably wasn't a bad thing.

Q. Can you imagine a scenario in the future where maybe American players would feel compelled to go play in European events because that's where the top young talent was based??

RORY McILROY: I don't think -- I mean, I don't think so. I mean, three of the four majors are played in the U.S. You know, if you look at the history, all the great players have come over here and played quite a lot. I mean, I'm going to play about 23, 24 events next year, and nearly half of those are PGA TOUR events.

I don't really see a -- I don't see it happening, no. I don't see the likes of -- I mean, there's a few guys, Dustin Johnson played the Swedish Open this year after playing in the Open, but that's just because he was there. I don't think he felt compelled to go over and try to play. I think most of the big tournaments are in this country, and I think the guys that have grown up here are always going to stay here.

Q. There used to be a perception that playing the European Tour exposed you to more variety of golf courses, different languages, different lifestyle that made you just a more well-rounded person and a well-rounded player. Do you feel like that's the case, that there's a little bit more variety that makes you improve??

RORY McILROY: There's definitely a lot more variety. You see different cultures and you experience different things. I mean, the European Tour shouldn't really be called the European Tour because the European Tour goes everywhere, Malaysia, China, Singapore, everywhere, and then you've got all the European countries.

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say that -- I mean, I think the TOUR over here is -- it's a better lifestyle -- I'm not going to say easier, things are laid out a little bit more. Most weeks you get your own car, and you don't have to worry about the language barrier or anything like that. So there's a few things on the PGA TOUR that it's a little easier to live with. But I think that's one of the fun things about the European Tour is going to different places and seeing them.

I think that's one of the reasons why the European guys would go out to dinner together and stuff and stick together, because if you're stuck on your own in China for a week, it's not a great place to be.

Q. How many languages do you speak now besides Irish??

RORY McILROY: I'm getting okay at English. Yeah, I wish I could speak another language, but I'm barely getting by with English.

Q. I wanted to ask you about, on global golf again because Adam Scott made an interesting point about a year ago where he said unless you have a nice run through either the world events or the majors, it's very difficult to play two tours and hope to be in the running for the Race to Dubai and hope to be in the running for the FedExCup because you're giving Lee Westwood a six-tournament head start on you and how do you compete with that. Is there some truth to that or can you only do well if you do well in the world events??

RORY McILROY: I think if you play both tours, it's very difficult to put yourself in the frame to win one of them. I mean, I think you should either concentrate on one or the other. You know, I finished 13th in the Race to Dubai this year and finished 36th in the FedExCup, which isn't -- I didn't really have a chance to win either of them.

I think to win the Race to Dubai or the FedExCup, you need to concentrate on one and put all your efforts into that.

Q. Your Ryder Cup teammate Graeme McDowell as you know used this event last year as a late entry, as a steppingstone really for a great season, his first major title. What have you seen differently in him as a player this year do you think??

RORY McILROY: I think his ball-striking has improved a lot. He's always had a great short game, and he's always been able to get it around the golf course. But he's been giving himself a lot more chances this year. I mean, the week -- a couple weeks before the U.S. Open he shot 64-63 on the weekend in Wales to win, and he's great from inside six feet, which you need to be at a U.S. Open. You need to hole those putts all the time.

And I think becoming a Top 10 player in the world or a major champion, not that he needed any confidence, but he's just given himself a little bit of a boost and believes that he belongs here. It's been fantastic. He's had a great year, really good year.

Q. The European Tour, the 2012 season actually starts next week??

RORY McILROY: Something like that, yeah.

Q. Have you even put your schedule together and when do you start, get going??

RORY McILROY: I start in Abu Dhabi. What is that, the third week in January? And then I'll play in Dubai and then I'll come over here and play three, I'll play the Match Play, Honda Classic and Doral, and then The Masters, Wells Fargo, maybe THE PLAYERS and then Match Play and BMW, Wentworth. I've pretty much got it planned out, pretty much got all of next year planned out, or I think I do anyway. We'll see how it goes.

Q. (No microphone.)

RORY McILROY: No, three weeks off. I'm going to go to Augusta early the week before and play a bit there and might spend a bit of time down in Florida sort of in between. But I'll definitely go home the week of -- what's the week after Doral, Transitions? I'll go home the week -- yeah, Tampa, and then I'll come back over for those two weeks and I'll go up to Augusta for a while and practice a little bit in Florida.

Q. A couple years ago when Monty was here he was talking about his schedule and how he'll make it up early in the year, and he said about the fifth time you fly over Greenland you wonder why you're doing it. I just wonder, obviously you're talking about even now jumping back and forth. Do you ever feel, what am I doing up here, when you're flying??

RORY McILROY: No, not really. If you get on a plane to come over here, it's because you want to come over here and you want to play in the events and you want to do well. I mean, compared to the flight that I was on a couple of days ago, going from Belfast to New York is a lot easier. It's only a six-and-a-half-hour flight. It's not too bad. But if you continuously hop over back and forth during the year, it can get a little tiring.

MARK STEVENS: Thanks a lot, Rory. Good luck this week.