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Rory McIlroy – interview

MICHAEL GIBBONS: Welcome back to the Home of Golf. You seem to be playing very nicely at the moment.

RORY McILROY: Yeah, probably the best I’ve played all year. Good thing this is the last event.

Yeah, so looking forward to it. I haven’t been back here since 2014, so missed the last couple of years. It’s nice to be back. Nice to be able to play a few rounds with my dad.

The Dunhill has always been a great week. It’s always been a very enjoyable week. I’ve always seemed to play well here probably because of sort of the relaxed atmosphere that there is. It’s nice to go and play the different courses and get back at night.

It’s a very social week. It’s great to catch up with everyone. I’ve been looking forward to this week for a long time and hopefully I can end the year on a positive note and turn in a couple of good scores and give myself another chance to win this week I guess.

Q. As you say, it’s your last event of the year and your last chance to get a tournament win this year. Do you feel a little bit more pressure on your shoulders?
RORY McILROY: No, I don’t think so. I had a great chance — well, I gave myself a decent chance last week. So it’s just good to know that there’s good stuff in there. At the end of the day, the result, it isn’t just dependent on me. I could play very well and shoot 20-under par this week and someone could shoot 22-under par; I could walk away from the week feeling very happy and feeling like I played well. Sometimes your best isn’t quite good enough to get the win.

A bit like last week. If someone had said to me you’re going to shoot 17-under par this week, I would have bitten their hand off on Thursday morning thinking that’s going to get the job done, and it didn’t quite.

I’m not under pressure to win. The result, if you play well and things go your way, that takes care of itself. But it would just be nice to string a few more good rounds together and put in a performance and that would be a nice way to end the year.

Q. Is this a year you’re just glad to see the back of?
RORY McILROY: In a golfing sense, yes. In a golfing sense it has not been the year that I wanted but a lot of great things have happened to me off the golf course, and 2017 will always be a year I remember because of that.

It hasn’t been the year I wanted in terms of my career, but you’re going to have years that just don’t quite go your way. There’s some things that are out of your control. I’ve tried my best to play well and persevere and play through an injury and it just hasn’t quite happened for me.

I think this year has not been anywhere near as bad as the year I had in 2013, and I bounced back from that year pretty well the year after. Hopefully I can do the same next year I guess.

Q. You played with Connor Syme this morning. How is his game?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it’s very good. More impressed just with him as a person. Seems like he’s got a really good head on his shoulders, 22 years old. He seems very mature. Not fazed by anything at all. He finished 12th in his first event as a pro in Portugal. Just by that, you can tell he’s not really fazed by that sort of environment. Nice game, solid swing and sort of does everything the right way. I don’t see any real weaknesses.

Yeah, it was good to get out and play 18 with him. Hopefully he has another good week this week and he can do well on his way to getting his Tour card.

Q. Obviously it’s a great week for some of the top golfers in the world, some fantastic celebrities here, as well, but there’s a young man, Ian Bishop, who lost his legs in Afghanistan in 2009. What does that tell us about the type of character who can do something like in this type of event, playing this week?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, it’s incredible. I think just as — anyone in any walk of life, if they are having a bad day or they are complaining about something, it puts everything in perspective. You see someone like that who he’s went to war in Afghanistan and he’s come back and been able to not just rebuild his life, but live a prosperous life and play in a golf tournament like this.

It’s great. It’s very inspiring to see. It’s inspiring and we’re very fortunate that we come across a lot of people like that every day, whether it’s working with charities or in America with military vets and stuff like that. You see a lot of people that have been through a lot but they are inspirational characters because they live their life as if nothing had happened. Hopefully Ian has a great week.

You think you’re having a bad day and you see a guy like that and you see what he’s been able to do; again, as you live your life as if nothing happened, it’s inspirational and it putts everything in perspective.

Q. You said recently that Europe are going to be up against it at the next Ryder Cup and perhaps for the next ten years. Seeing the manner of The Presidents Cup victory, is that something that only enhances that even further?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, looks, they have got a very young steam, very strong team, hungry team.

It is. You know, every Ryder Cup is tough. Even The Ryder Cups that I’ve been a part of, every Ryder Cup has been tough. We only won one session in Wales but we won it by enough that we were able to win. Obviously we had to have the comeback of the century to win at Medinah. 2014 was a little more routine at Gleneagles.

You know, they have got a great squad. They have got a lot of great players, which will make it even sweeter when we win in France.

Q. What’s the chat been like with your dad the last couple of days?
RORY McILROY: It’s been good. We played a couple of matches out there. It’s been good for both of us, actually. It’s sharpened us up a bit. Dad’s only played twice in the last two months but he’s been on the range a lot and hit a lot of golf balls. It’s been good to get out and play a couple matches and sharpen his game up.

It’s great to just spend time with him. My Mum’s over and obviously my wife, Erica, so we’ve been able to spend a good bit of time together, go out for dinners and have a few drinks at night. It’s been nice since we got here.

Yeah, I love it for that; to be able to spend that quality time with him and with all of us as a family, it’s really nice. Erica has never been here before. She was looking forward to coming here for The Open in 2015 and then I played a football match and that sort of was the end of that.

It’s been nice to be able to show Eric around. I’ve always loved St. Andrews. It’s been one of my favourite parts of the world, and we have a restaurant we go to and our pubs we go into and it’s been nice.

Q. Another pretty big football match for Northern Ireland this week. Do you think they will get the job done?
RORY McILROY: Hope so. If Germany play anything like Bayern Munich have been playing, then we might have a chance. I don’t know, I think we’re close enough that we’re in a good position in the table that — a draw wouldn’t be a bad result. Hopefully they got the job done. But been a great campaign and hopefully I’m making a trip to Moscow at some point next summer.

Q. It isn’t the best year of your career but also some great things happened this year. Can you talk more about that, and do you think you can enjoy more other things than golf?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I’ve always said that balance is a huge part of life. Obviously I dedicated myself to golf and my career but at the same time, there needs to be other parts of your life that you enjoy. That’s really what it’s been. It’s been a great year off the golf course. I’m very happy and everything’s great. I don’t really know what more to say.

Q. About the great things that happened to you, can you say something more about that?
RORY McILROY: No. (Laughter).